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Video:What Is the South American Parilla?

with Krystyna Rittichier

A parrilla is a South American party in the same vein as an American bar-b-que, but with some distinct latin differences. In this food video from About.com, learn how to throw your own Parrilla with family and friends.See Transcript

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Transcript:What Is the South American Parilla?

Hi. I'm Krystyna Rittichier with About.com, and today I'll be discussing, “What is the South American Parrilla?”

What is a South American Parrilla?

A parilla is a special South American barbeque where a group of people gather around an open fire and taste various meat dishes throughout the day. The parilla often begins around lunch and lasts until late into the evening.

During a parilla there is often a designated grill cook known as the parrillero, and he mans the grill alone creating delicious meats all day while the group eats and socializes. At a parilla, it is wise not to eat too much of any one particular dish, because you are sure to be served much, much more.

How to Assemble a Picada for an Appetizer

The meats are often served with a variety of dishes, most of which are cooked at the parrilla in a clay oven. Empanadas are a South American flatbread which are often cooked at parrillas. Serve them with a picada, or an Argentine appetizer platter. A picada is often served as guest are arriving as a way to pacify rumbling stomaches and wet the appetite for the meats to come. For a picada, try hard salami, cured ham, and various cheeses such as gouda, brie, and parmesan. Olives and pickled vegetables are also a nice addition. Serve the picada in wooden bowls or on a wooden cutting board with chilled beer and wine.

Salads are often served with meats. Salad Olivier is a common salad served at parrillas, and it consists of potatoes, vegetables, eggs and ham tossed with mayonnaise. It is also common to serve a basic salad like lettuce, tomatoes and onion with a very simple dressing such as white wine vinegar and olive oil.

The Meat at a Parrilla

In a parrilla the meats are the center of the meal, and the flavor of the meat is meant to speak for itself. Rather than marinating the meat or using a rub, just allow the meats to come to room temprature then sprinkle them with a coarse salt. Sausages and ribs start the night out, but the steaks are the real star of the evening. Skirt steak, beef tenderloin steaks, and ribeyes all make great parrilla cuts. If you are feeling adventurous, you can make the parrilla more authentic with cow chitterlings or even a baby lamb or goat on a spit.

When the meats come off the grill, serve them with the famous Argentine sauce for meats and everything else - Chimichurri!

Wine and Dessert at a Parrilla

Argentinia is a large exporter of wine. To make your parrilla more authentic, try to find a few bottles of Argentine wine.

It's a good idea to keep the dessert limited, since you have just stuffed your guests full over the course of several hours. A popular dessert at a parrilla is fruit such as grapes, pears, melons and berries.

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