This South American paste can be used as a substitute whenever fresh chiles are called for. It will keep for two weeks or more in the refrigerator; for longer storage, increase the vinegar and reduce the amount of olive oil. For a red paste, substitute 15 dried New Mexican red chiles, soaked in water. For a green paste, substitute 10 New Mexican green chiles, roasted, peeled, and chopped. For a much hotter paste, add 5 habanero chiles. All chiles should have the seeds and stems removed.
A parrilla is a simple grill in Argentina, but the wonders it can create! As barbecue expert Steven Raichlen noted, “Argentina can be a forbidding place for a vegetarian.” Chimichurri is the sauce most commonly served with beef straight from the parrilla, and there are dozens—if not hundreds—of variations of it, and a debate about whether it should contain chiles. You know which side we favor, and our version of chimichurri contains green ají chiles. Since cattle are so large in Argentina, why not use a huge steak? Serve with grilled sweet potato and poblano chile kabobs, and black beans and rice.
To get South American style beef ribs have the butcher cut through the bone and produce strips of ribs. So you’ll have a long strip of: meat, then a piece of bone, then meat, then bone, and so on and so forth. There’s no marinade except olive oil, a few spices, and salt and pepper—this is because you're meant to serve your meat with Chimmichurri sauce.
There is a minor debate about whether or not this Argentinian sauce should contain chile peppers. As usual, there is no real answer because cooks tend to add them or not, according to taste. This sauce is served with broiled, roasted, or grilled meat and poultry.
Look for veal with a fine grain and creamy pink color, any fat covering should be milky white. At the market, packages should be securely wrapped with no signs of leakage, and should be cold to the touch, without any tears or punctures.
I grow a lot of Peruvian ají chiles in my garden every year, and I always put aside a large bag of them to take to Miguel, our computer wizard friend from Peru. On my second or third trip to Miguel's (it was a bumper harvest of chiles), he was having a late lunch with this ají sauce over his rice.
This Brazilian sauce is traditionally served over black-eyed pea fritters (acaraj, called accra in the West Indies), but can also be spread over other bland foods such as potatoes. It has an intense shrimp flavor and high heat. It is traditionally made with dende, palm oil, but I have substituted one with less saturated fat. Variation: Add 1 teaspoon minced cilantro and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger to the paste.
The technique of soaking a food in a liquid to flavor it—or in the case of meats, to tenderize the cut—was probably brought to the Caribbean by the Spanish. A marinade is easier to use than a paste, and when grilling your jerk meats, the marinade can also be used as a basting sauce. “In Jamaica,” notes food writer Robb Walsh, “like Texas barbecue, jerk is served on butcher paper and eaten with your hands.” Serve this version of jerk with a salad and grilled plantains.