Sunday, January 17, 2010

Brazilian Cheese Bread (Pão de queijo) and Chimichurri


Have you ever eaten something at a restaurant and figured it was probably too complicated to replicate at home? The first time I tried Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Balls) at Cabana Room (in Madison, WI) I fell in love with them. The golf-ball sized appetizers were served warm, with a bright-green chimichurri on the side. The balls were baked to a golden yellow, chewy on the inside and puffed up with enough holes to soak up the dipping sauce. The slightly salty, buttery flavor made the cheese balls just melt in my mouth and provided a perfect base for the bold spiciness and tang of the chimichurri dipping sauce. I figured I was relegated to eating at the Cabana Room every time I had a craving.

Eventually my practical side (you could be saving this money for a vacation) and my creative side (I bet if I added a touch of flaked chile to the chimichurri it would taste even better!) ganged up on my frivolous side. And won. I decided to try the cheese balls at home. I looked up the recipe online, only to find that it is very simple. No yeast, no leavening. Heat, mix and bake. Easy and delicious. And a surprising bonus--gluten free! Toss the ingredients for the chimichurri in a food processor and you are set.

Pão de queijo

1 cup milk, 6 tbsp butter/oil, 1 tsp salt

2 cup tapioca flour (At Asian food stores or ethnic grocery)
1.5 cup grated cheese (try parmesan and cheddar or farmer's cheese)
2-3 eggs

Turn oven to 375.
Boil milk, butter, salt. Add in flour, mix and let cool about 10 minutes.
Mix in cheese and eggs. Knead well.
Drop in balls on cookie sheet.
Bake until golden and puffy, about 20-25 minutes.

There are many variations for this recipe online, but this one worked great).

Chimichurri

1/2 bunch flat leaf parsley
1 small bunch cilantro
oregano (add a sprig, or to taste.)
olive oil (to thin. about 1/2 cup? add until desired consistency)
3-4 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic
flaked red pepper
1 tbsp sugar (optional)
pinch salt

Pulse herbs in food processor. Add garlic and pulse. Add remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust.
You can vary herbs. Some people omit cilantro. Some people add lots of fresh oregano. Try different ways to see what flavor you like.

3 comments:

onakiser said...

I am so making this! OMG! ;)

Catherine said...

That is my kind of view beautifully presented and tasting divine.

Otehlia said...

It is so simple and delicious!They should be eaten when hot though,so Freeze unbaked balls on cookie sheet, then store in freezer until ready to bake.