Saturday, October 24, 2009

United Nations Day via Argentina

I went down Argentina way the other day in search of recipes to share for United Nations Day. United Nation's Day has been celebrated on October 24th since 1948.

The anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter on 24 October 1945 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. It has traditionally been marked throughout the world by meetings, discussions and exhibits on the achievements and goals of the Organization. In 1971, the General Assembly recommended that Member States observe it as a public holiday. UN website

"Why Argentina?" you might ask. Besides the fact, Argentina was one of the Original 51 Members of the United Nations, Latin American food lights up my senses. Have you ever experienced the pleasure of chimichurri sauce? I recently purchased a small sample of a variety sold at Wegman's which resembled pesto. Although most people use chimichurri as an embellishment with steak, I chose to marinade a few chicken thighs before roasting. I quartered a few potatoes, doused them with some melted lemon butter and put them on the bottom of the roasting pan with the thighs on top. I was so pleased with the results, that I'm most likely going to prepare the same meal for Tabitha's birthday party next month. However, I may whip up my own chimichurri sauce for the occasion. It's really rather easy! Works great as a dipping sauce with some hot crusty bread, oh my goodness. Look at this simple recipe @ The Global Gourmet.

I think my affection for Argentine cuisine stems from my Italian roots. Many of the regional dishes are melded by European influence. Lots of meat, pasta, bread and Argentinean wine. The best place for you to begin your journey into the traditional daily food habits of Argentina is at Rebecca's blog, From Argentina With Love. You never know what she will be cooking up. On my last visit, Flan was on the menu:) Who doesn't need a little sweetness every now and again:) Funny thing happened on my trip down Argentina way, I discovered Rebecca's blog by "bumping" into Laylita's recipe blog. Laylita was participating in Rebecca's empanada of the month event. It sounded like such fun I just had to drop by. You know how I feel about the quintessential Argentine dish, empanadas. I celebrated Empanada Day back in April; I think it was. I must also mention the Argentinean Food Recipe Collection. I found an Argentine Stew in Pumpkin Shell recipe I just know you will enjoy.

Recipes from Argentina

The first group of recipes I would like to share with you today, comes from the 1954 edition of Favorite Recipes from the United Nations published by the United States Committee for the United Nations. It contains 170 authentic dishes from all the countries of the United Nations...

This cookbook has been compiled and published by the United States Committee for the United Nations, a quasi-official, non-profit organization, whose Chairman is appointed annually by Secretary of State. Established in 1948 by the Department of State in response to a UN General Assembly Resolution: "...that October 24th shall henceforth be officially called United Nations Day and shall be devoted to making known to the people of the world the aims and achievements of the United Nations and to gaining their support for the work of the United Nations".

The purpose of the U.S. Committee is to disseminate facts about the United Nations and to promote the observance of United Nations Day in the United States.

They say, The Best Beef in the World is in Argentina. Others, would disagree. I personally must remain on the fence about such a statement, however, I can tell you beef is a staple of most Argentinean meals. A traditional country dish consists of a thick corn and beef stew (guisos) called Locro which is usually served with a hearty crusty bread. I have scanned it below. There are also recipes for Argentinean Almond Pastry and Meringue. You can find another recipe for South American Beef Stew adapted by Ann over @ Collectible Cooking. I just "met" Ann today also. Isn't it wonderful that there's a whole wide world of cookbook lovers out there!!!

The next two recipes I would like to share with you today come from The Cookbook of The United Nations 350 recipes from 126 member nations of the UN. It is a revised, book club edition, published in 1970. The recipes were compiled and edited by Barbara Krauss. The introduction to the recipes "brought" down Argentina Way, goes something like this:

Argentina is as long as the United States is wide. It is the second largest country in Latin America...The ancestry of nine out of ten Argentinians is European, most often Spanish or Italian. The Argentinian cuisine reflects this as well as the fact that the country is the world's largest producer of corn and wheat. Livestock raising is on par with farming and meat is served at almost every meal and between meals-as steak, or thinly sliced, stuffed, and rolled up or chopped and encased in corn dough. Argentina's membership in the UN commenced on October 24, 1945.

The first recipe is for Niños envueltos (meat rolls) which according to this Spanish Guide, filled with Christmas recipes from most Spanish speaking countries, means "babies in blankets" The recipe at the guide is remotely similar to the recipe I am including. The reason for the difference in the recipes may be related to what region of Argentina the recipe is home to. Some say envueltos (tortilla “envelopes") are another name for "tacos that are filled and fried." 

"Envueltos" have been cited in print since at least the 1890s and a recipe was included in the very first Mexican cookbook published by San Antonio’s Gebhardt Chili Powder Company. (source)
Niños envueltos
2 lbs. sirloin or top round steak, cut 1/2 inch thick
3/4 cup white wine or cider vinegar
2 tbs. chopped green pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 clove garlic, minced
6 slices stale bread, cubed
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten slightly
1 tbs. chopped parsley
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper
1 tbs. melted butter
3 tbs. fat
1 clove garlic
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tbs. olive oil
1 1-pound can tomatoes
1 tbs. chopped parsley
3 tbs. chopped green pepper
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper
1/2 cup white wine
3 medium potatoes, cut into quarters
1 10 ounce package frozen peas
Pound steak with mallet until meat is thin. Cut in 6 equal strips.
To make marinade: Combine all marinade ingredients, simmer for 10 minutes and cool. Pour cooled marinade over meat and let stand 2 to 3 hours. Remove meat from marinade.
To make stuffing: Soak bread cubes in milk until soft. Squeeze out excess milk. Combine bread with remaining stuffing ingredients and mix well.

Place an equal portion of stuffing on each of the 6 inch strips. Roll side by side in shallow casserole or baking dish with a cover.
To make sauce: Cook garlic and onion in oil until yellow. Add other sauce ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour sauce over meat rolls, cover, and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven. Add potatoes after the meat has cooked for 1 hour; add peas 15 minutes later, and continue cooking for 15 minutes. Make 6 servings.

Humita Mendocina (perhaps from the province of Mendoza) is a fresh creamy corn pudding which in this recipe is served dinner in a pumpkin style. You may remember a version of Mendoza's Fresh Corn Polenta from a 2008 episode of the Martha Stewart Show.

Humita Mendocina
1 clove garlic
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 tbs. olive oil
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1-1/2 tsp. paprika
1 ripe tomato, chopped
12 ears fresh corn, grated or 4 cups frozen corn
1/2 cup milk
1 large pumpkin
2 cups milk
2 tbs. butter
1 tbs. sugar
Bread crumbs
Cook garlic and onion in oil in saucepan until tender. Add green pepper and cook 2 more minutes. Add salt, bay leaf, black pepper, cinnamon and paprika and mix well. Cook 1 minute. Add tomato and simmer 10 minutes. Add corn and milk. Cook very slowly, stirring frequently, for 15 minutes or until corn is tender. Serve hot or cold.
To prepare Corn Supreme served in a pumpkin: Wash pumpkin and cut off top; remove seeds and membrane. Pour milk, butter, and sugar into pumpkin and bake in preheated 300 degree oven for 1-1/2 hours or until pumpkin meat is tender. Pour off milk and fill with Corn Supreme. Sprinkle open top with bread crumbs and dot with butter. Bake in preheated 324 degree oven 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Serve Corn Supreme along with a scooped out portion of pumpkin meat. Make 8 servings.

I just can't leave without a dollop of dessert. Or in this case "a thick concentrate of quince pulp cooked with sugar;" dulce de membrillo.

"Quince-Technically speaking, quinces are edible in their raw state but they have an astringent, bitter taste and are always cooked. They have been grown for at least 4,000 years, and were valued by the ancient Greeks and Romans for the fragrance of their flowers as well as for their fruit. There are two species of quinces in cultivation: one with round, apple-shaped fruits (Cydonia vulgaris), and one with oblong, pear-shaped fruits (C. oblongata). The fuzzy green or yellow skin gradually becomes smooth and the fruit matures. They aren’t as popular in the Americas as they are in Europe (Spain is a major producer of dulce de membrillo, a thick, sweet quince paste), but are sometimes available in the fall." (source)

I'm just going to leave you a link to the history of Argentina's sweet gooey caramel delicacy and a few recipes to crave. Think sweetened condensed milk goodness:)

Dulce Le Leche Links
Pig Pigs Corner Dulce de Leche: The easy way and it did not explode...
The Recipe Girl Dulce de Leche Pumpkin- Toffee Pie
Margarita's International Recipes Panqueques de Dulce de Leche (Dulce de Leche Crepes)
Baking Bites Dulce de Leche Brownies
Cinnamon & Spice... Dulce de leche Cheesecake
Canela's Kitchen Recipes Dulce de leche alfajores (tender, sweet, delicate cornstarch cookie (sometimes made with potato flour) filled with Dulce de leche in South America but waiting to be filled with whatever sweet goodness you may have on hand. (Think Nutella:)

Upcoming Food Days:
25-National Greasy Foods Day
25-World Pasta Day
25-Last day for Pizza Party Mix-Up Entries
26-Pumpkin Day (I will be posting the story of pumpkin pie on Pumpkin Day:)

1. Down Argentine Way (the movie @ wiki & where I downloaded the top image)
2.Argentina @ the UN
3. Candy Shop on Rivington Street for all your Halloween Goodies
4. Spanish terms used in cooking!
5. Chimichurri marinade
6.Chef Luiz: Empanada lore
7. Ten Tricks For a Good "Asado" (definition)
8. Holiday Gifts: Creamy Caramel
9 Michele's Dinner in a Pumpkin Recipe (previous post)
10. National Empanada Day (previous post)


  1. Your United Nations cookbooks sound quite interesting. There is an Argentinian restaurant in my city but I have never been to it. Guess I should try it.

  2. My husband would love the ninos enovueltos !! Yum! Did I spell that correctly? Thanks for sharing these recipes and links!

  3. The United Nations cookbook sounds fascinating. Would love to look through that. Quince with dulce de leche would be divine!

  4. I was always the only child who knew when United Nations Day was, because the stooopid calendar printers wrote that on MY birthday! The nerve of them! You always find interesting reasons to make different foods, Louise!

  5. The steak recipe sonds really good! Love the marinade.

  6. My colleague in Argentina would love this post. He is always sharing tidbits about the food culture there. Someday, I will visit!

  7. The recipes all sound delicious.

  8. Both United Nations books are quite interesting, Rochelle. I don't know why I didn't scan the other cover. Oh well, I'm sure there will be another time. Argentinean food is YUMMY!!! You really should try it. It sounds like it would be spicy but most dishes I have experienced are not as spicy as one might expect.

    Hi Julia, I'm glad you enjoyed the recipes. Will you be preparing them for hubby any time soon?

    Hi Barbara, There are so many interesting traditional recipes in both the books. I plan on sharing more of them in the future. Anything dulce is high on my list of goodies!!!

    Happy belated Birthday, Marjie. I hope you're feeling better. Well, if I had a calendar, I would omit United Nations Day and just celebrate Marjie's Day!!!

    Hi Jan, the marinade is a breeze to whip up and most likely good on other meats or chicken.

    I'm sure you will visit, T.W. I can't wait to hear what morsels you uncover.

    Thanks Pam. Let me know if you give them a whirl!!!

  9. Thank you for the link to my blog, what a fascinating and informative post! I look forward to trying the recipes and links.

  10. Thanks for linking to my cheesecake Louise! That was real sweet of you. The corn pudding sounds so delicious!

  11. Hi Rebecca,
    And thank you for dropping by. Have fun with the recipes!!!

    The corn pudding does sound mighty tempting, Reeni. Thank you for letting me "borrow" the link. Enjoy!!!

  12. Thank you for sharing to us your recipes.


Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise