Hello Steak loving amigos!
After you read the title of this blog maybe you are asking yourselves: “What is a Chinchulin ?” and “What is an Achura ?”. I have to tell you that to answer to the first question I must answer the second first. An Achura is the Spanish word that is used in Argentina to talk about some specific grilled starters that are frequently used at the traditional Argentine barbecues, the Asados, where the people gather to eat not only the best Buenos Aires Steaks, but other interesting things as well. Achura comes from the Mapuche language word “achuraj”. Mapuche aborigines were inhabiting northwestern Argentina before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors, and for them achuraj was everything that was useless and discarded. Lucky for the Asado, that which was useless for the Mapuches, for the sophisticated conquistador and immigrants became an essential part of cooking.
And now we can talk about Chinchulines, or as everyone calls them, Chinchus. Why the aborigines wouldn’t cook these delicacies? Well, when I was a child I never asked about what were this tasty Achuras known as Chinchulines, my father would put 2 or 3 on my dish and in less than two minutes they were all gone. One day my younger brother had the doubt, and as I was unable to answer (what a mystery!), we asked my dad. Before answering he was already laughing, and finally he said very naturally: “Well my dear children, Chinchulines are the cow intestines” (WHAT?!, well, more precisely the small intestine, in English known as chitterlings). Now I can tell why would aborigines never thought of cooking this part of the animal. If I had known this from the beginning, probably I never would have tried them either. Thanks dad for never telling me this before putting these delicious chinchus on my plate! Nowadays, I just can’t bear the idea of an Asado without them.
Some people prefer to empty them, others won’t do that for nothing in the world (I wouldn’t). Some would boil them in water and milk to tenderize, others would macerate them for a whole day in lemon juice and spices. Some will cut them in pieces , and others will cook them Trenzados (praided). Every Asador (grill man) has its own secret to prepare the Chinchulines before sending them to la Parrilla (the grill). 20 minutes on each side at the heat of the embers and you are ready to try one of the most interesting Achuras in Argentina (by now you probably noticed that it is my favorite, I love Chinchus!).
So please, if you come to Argentina to do a Buenos Aires Tour, plan to visit the best Steakhouses, or want to enjoy a Traditional Argentine Barbecue, don’t forget to ask for Chinchulines. Don’t be shy, they are delicious!!!