When I lived in Miami Beach I was in a neighborhood known as "Little Argentina", so churrasco steak with chimichurri quickly became a staple food in my diet. My husband and I spent many weekends enjoying cookouts overlooking the water with our Argentine neighbor's family. Boy, he sure knew how to grill the perfect skirt steak! This is what I'm talking about right here:
Lucky for us, the little corner grocery store carried freshly made chimichurri that you could buy by the quart. And it was the real deal made with real extra-virgin olive oil with everything chopped by hand with a knife. Since it was so high-quality and inexpensive, we'd often buy a container to enjoy with our neighbors during those cookouts. It was as good as homemade!
But I knew we wouldn't live in Miami forever, so I had to perfect a homemade authentic chimichurri, and you can find that recipe in my best-selling print cookbook Latin American Paleo Cooking. (FAQs about my cookbook here).
My cookbook focuses on being as authentic as possible - the recipes are not "inspired" by the cuisines from countries like Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia, etc. - they ARE the recipes, made with Paleo (and over 90% AIP) ingredients while still having truly authentic flavor.
This chimichurri marinade, however, is an "inspired" recipe. I took the recipe from my cookbook and tweaked it to optimize it as a marinade instead of a condiment. I have been craving fresh herbs in my food lately and had snagged some parsley and chicken thighs both on sale so I knew what I needed to do: make chimichicken! Ha! Do you like the name?
This chimichurri marinade is made in the food processor which is a huge NO if you want to make an authentic condiment. The real deal is chopped with a knife only, which has a big impact on the texture and overall culinary experience with the sauce. Real chimichurri, when served as a condiment, is supposed to be a loose oil-based salsa, NOT creamy herb paste.
This is what authentic chimichurri is supposed to look like. Notice how the herbs are suspended in the oil:
But, when using it as a marinade, you actually do want that creamy herb paste so that it sticks to the meat better and all of the flavors can infuse the meat evenly.
Also, real chimichurri doesn't have any cilantro in it. I know, I am guilty of thinking it was a cilantro-based sauce myself before living in Little Argentina! No, it is a parsley sauce with a little oregano.
But for the marinade, I actually really like adding some cilantro to add to the depth of flavor.
And really, this marinade is a very tasty condiment in its own right, despite having multiple strikes against it in the "authenticity" category. It certainly has the authentic flavors. I think it is fine and wonderful for recipes to be inspired by original, authentic cuisine as long as they taste delicious!
People can get really protective over the traditional dishes from their culture (myself included) but having new variations inspired by those old methods can keep cooking interesting and fun as time goes on.
Chimichicken: Chimichurri marinade recipe notes
- After you've marinated the chicken, if you like, you can take the leftover chimichurri and thin it out by adding in more EVOO and a splash more vinegar or lime juice. You can also serve the leftover marinade as-is as a condiment.
- You need to use a food processor, blender, or immersion blender for this recipe so that it is creamy - you want it to be creamy as a marinade even though it's not authentic for serving chimichurri as a condiment.
- You can use this marinade for chicken breasts if you prefer, or for an entire chicken! For a whole bird, I recommend doing the frog cut method after marinating. You can also use this marinade with turkey.
- Simply omit the cilantro if you don't like it. (Some people think it tastes like soap!)
- My average bunch of parsley from the store weighs somewhere between 5-6 ounces (before removing the lower stems) and my average bunch of cilantro weighs somewhere between 3-4 ounces. It does not have to be a precise measurement for this recipe!
- When roasting any chicken (or turkey), always always always cook to the internal temp 165F, do not base it solely on time. An inexpensive kitchen thermometer (I have this one) is an important tool for any home kitchen. If you do not have one, check to ensure the juices run clear and the meat is cooked through next to the bone before serving. Cooking times can vary WIDELY depending on your oven, the exact size of your chicken thighs, the color of the pan you cook in, etc.
- If you can't tolerate vinegars, you can substitute fresh lime juice.
- If you're doing keto simply replace the sweet potatoes with keto-friendly veggies that suit your carb intake goals, like turnips, radishes, carrots, peppers, etc.
Chimichicken: Chimichurri Marinated Chicken (Paleo, AIP, Keto, Whole30, Wahls)
This marinade is an adaptation of my authentic chimichurri sauce from Latin American Paleo Cooking (FAQ about my cookbook here). The combination of parsley, garlic, and oregano imparts loads of tangy, herby flavor into the chicken meat!
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, large lower stems removed
- 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, large lower stems removed (omit if desired)
- 3 tbsp fresh oregano leaves (or 1.5 tbsp dried)
- 8 to 10 medium cloves of garlic
- 2 tsp unrefined salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (this one is my favorite)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (or coconut vinegar)
- juice of 1 lime
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional; omit for AIP)
- 6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
- 2 medium sweet potatoes or potatoes, peeled and cubed to 1" (sub low carb veggies for keto, turnips/radishes/etc.)
- 1 small onion, coarsely diced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to coat vegetables
- Prepare the marinade by placing all of the ingredients in a food processor (I have this one), high powered blender, or in a container for an immersion blender (I use this one) and puree until a smooth paste forms. It should be fairly thick.
- Generously rub each thigh with about 1 tbsp of the marinade, making sure to apply it on both sides and underneath the skin. TAKE CARE not to contaminate the marinade with raw chicken juices if you would like to use the extra as a condiment after the chicken cooks. Place the thighs in a large glass dish with a lid and allow to marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours. (A plastic bag works, of course, but I prefer not to create the plastic waste. This marinade is so thick it will stick to the meat just fine in a glass dish). Store any leftover marinade in the fridge in a covered container to serve with the chicken.
- Peel and chop the sweet potatoes and onion - you can do this at the same time you marinate the chicken if you like, just store them in another glass container with a lid in the fridge.
- After the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 425F. Arrange the chopped sweet potatoes and onion in a single layer on a sheet pan and toss with the 2 tbsp EVOO. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the thighs on top, spacing them out evenly.
- Bake until the juices run clear and the meat is cooked through at the bone, about 40-45 minutes (can vary depending on the size of the thighs, your oven, and the pan you used. Always cook chicken to temp! I use this thermometer)
- Serve with the leftover marinade and enjoy! If desired, you can thin out the marinade with equal parts EVOO and vinegar to the desired consistency, or serve it as is.
Yield: 6 thighsPrep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.
Cook time: 00 hrs. 40 mins.
Total time: 50 mins.Tags: Paleo, AIP, chicken thighs, Argentine, chimichurri, parsley, garlic
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