International Cooking Challenge: Food from Argentina

I was very excited about this week because I just knew it was going to be good since I love South American food. In particular, I’ve always wanted to try making empanadas, and this was the week for that.

What do People Eat in Argentina?

The cuisine of Argentina is extremely diverse due to the number of immigrants who arrived between 1853 and 1955. Before that, the land was occupied by indigenous people who grew squash, corn and sweet potatoes, and these are still popular food items today. Probably the most obvious influences are from Italy, which introduced pizza and pasta, and Spain, which brought olive oil, sausage, wheat, and many other previously unknown foods when they established a colony in the 1500s.

Beef is really popular, and grilling is the favored form of cooking, so much so that ‘asado’ (the word used for Argentinian barbecue) is considered a national dish. I don’t have a barbecue and this isn’t really a specific recipe since you can grill just about anything, so I did not attempt it. I did, however make a chimichurri sauce, which is the most common condiment for asado (see choripan).

What I Made

Locro (Hominy and Squash Stew)


Locro is a stew made primarily of squash, corn, potato, beef and sausages, and is considered one of Argentina’s national dishes, though it’s popular in neighboring countries too.

Here I tried hominy for the first time, and found it to be pretty good. I followed the recipe from The Real Argentina, but I omitted the sweet potato and just added more butternut squash and potato, since I was halving the recipe and I don’t really like sweet potato and didn’t want leftovers. I didn’t include the optional tripe, pigs feet or lima beans either. I think the tripe is actually a pretty common addition but I’m just not ready for that, if I ever will be, and again, I wasn’t making a lot of this and didn’t want leftover tripe that I would have to find something to do with.

This was pretty good, especially with some bread. I used the same sausage I got for the choripan I made later in the week.

Revuelto de Gramajo (Scrambled Eggs with Ham and Potato)

Revuelto de Gramajo

This is a breakfast dish consisting of fried potatoes, ham, and eggs. The recipe I used, from Curious Cuisinière, has you make french fries out of the potatoes first, so you could probably just use store bought fries if you want. Or if you somehow have leftover fries, I’m sure they would work really well here.

You can add whatever vegetables you want, and peas are a common addition. To finish, I sprinkled green onions over the top. I took one bite and decided it would be way more delicious with hot sauce, and so I added that and then it was amazing.

Fugazzeta (Argentinian Stuffed Pizza)


A fugazetta is an Argentinian style pizza which is topped with onions, oregano, olive oil and parmesan, and stuffed with mozzarella cheese (obligatory cheese shot below).


The fugazetta is a variation on a simpler dish, called fugazza, which is a pizza or focaccia with the same onion topping. I was going back and forth between the two, because although the fugazetta is clearly much more unhealthy, it also looked so good and I love cheese. So I gave in and made it, and luckily it freezes and reheats really well, since my husband does not like cheese or onion and I could not eat this whole thing in one, or even two or three sittings.

I followed the recipe from The Spruce Eats and I think that, overall, it turned out really well. I used the lower amount of mozzarella and did not include the optional provolone, which is probably why mine is less oozey. My only problem is the top crust didn’t really do much rising in the oven, particularly in the middle, and I would’ve liked more browning on the crust itself but I was worried about the onions getting burned. But ultimately, I really enjoyed this.

Choripan (Sausage Sandwich)


Choripan is a pork or beef sausage served on a roll, and it’s a popular street food in Argentina. A wide range of condiments may be added. This isn’t the kind of thing that needs a recipe, but I took inspiration from Layla’s Recipes and accompanied my choripan with chimichurri sauce and tomato and onion curtido salsa.

Chimichurri, for those who don’t know, is a very popular sauce consisting of fresh parsley and oregano, green onion, garlic, oil, vinegar or lemon juice, and chili. That is the more traditional Argentinian version, but I’ve seen many variations on the internet which use different blends of herbs. The tomato and onion curtido salsa is basically just quick-pickled red onions mixed with tomatoes and a little cilantro. I made the baguettes since I wanted them for my milanesa sandwich later in the week and I love homemade baguettes. For the sausage, I used the spicy Argentinian sausage from Wild Fork Foods. (Not an affiliate link, but I do highly recommend their products if you are in the United States).

This turned out to be really delicious, but I didn’t expect anything less.

Milanesas (Argentinian Schnitzel)


A milanesa is a thin piece of steak or veal, breaded and fried, and it’s a product of Italian influence. It is a very popular dish and I came across countless variations. They all sounded so good, and I knew I’d have leftovers, so I did my milanesas three different ways. Above is the most basic version, which is served with fries (or mashed potatoes) and salad. I loosely followed the recipe from Authentic Food Quest.

I used thinly sliced top round instead of veal, because veal costs approximately a thousand dollars a pound (alright, not really, but it may as well). I combined the parsley and garlic (which I grated on a microplane) with the egg mixture, and seasoned that and the breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. I pounded the beef with the flat side of a meat mallet. Then I just dipped the pieces of beef in the egg and then in the breadcrumbs and shallow fried for a few minutes per side. I think I had the heat a little high at first, but nothing actually got burned and it tasted really good. I was surprised at how tender the meat was; it’s hard to get a proper medium rare on such thin pieces but it was still a little pink and the texture was really good for such a cheap cut.

Another popular milanesa dish is milanesa a caballo, which translates to ‘milanesa on horseback’. It’s a milanesa served with an egg (or two) on top. I had a fair bit of leftover chimichurri sauce, so I added that, and it was delicious. This would usually be served with fries, but these were big pieces of meat and I didn’t really need that much food in the morning.

Milanesa a Caballo

Finally, I used my last leftover milanesa to make a milanesa sandwich. There’s more leftover chimichurri, and tomato and onion curtido, and lettuce. I added some kewpie mayonnaise too. I don’t care if it’s Japanese, it basically goes with everything.

Milanesa Sandwich

Other milanesa variations include various toppings, such as ham and cheese, or salsa. I’m definitely going to be making this again and trying out new ways to enjoy milanesas.

Empanadas (Stuffed Pastries)


I’m sure everyone knows what an empanada is, but it’s a pastry that can be filled with pretty much anything you want. I decided to make what I feel is a fairly traditional meat-based filling, and I followed the recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch. I chose to bake rather than fry, and they turned out crisp and delicious.

They only problem I had, is that despite making 19 empanadas compared to the ‘about 20’ indicated in the recipe, I had enough filling leftover for another 6 or so after using up all the pastry. I already had various leftover things in the fridge, so I portioned the filling in the freezer. I think it will go well on a tortilla with some cheese.

The empanadas themselves went in the freezer too, but that was intended, since it was something I figured would freeze really well. The recipe suggests freezing them before baking, but I wanted them to be something I could just take out of the freezer and eat so I baked them first. I’ve since eaten some of my freezer empanadas, and although I’m sure they would be more crisp if I heated them up in the oven, they have been really good after a short time in the microwave.

El Submarino (Hot Chocolate)

El Submarino

This is basically just hot chocolate, but a really good version. You warm up some milk and drop in a piece of dark chocolate, which is the ‘submarine’. The recipe I used, from The Spruce Eats, adds sugar and vanilla to the milk. Of course, technically this doesn’t really need a recipe. Just heat up however much milk you want and add chocolate until it’s as chocolatey as you want. I only needed to add one square to make it delicious.

Alfajores (Sandwich Cookies with Dulce de Leche)


Alfajores are sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche, though over the years many variations have appeared, with different flavored cookies and fillings. You can even get alfajores coated in chocolate! However, I wanted to keep mine more simple and traditional. I used the recipe from Somewhat Simple and it worked really well, though I omitted the lemon zest because I knew it would make it more likely my husband would help me eat them. He still never tried one, so they’re in my freezer, and I can report that although they are slightly softer after freezing and defrosting, they are still really good.

I had to make my own dulce de leche because the supermarket didn’t have it. I know you can supposedly heat sweetened condensed milk in its can but it specifically says on the can not to do that, and I didn’t want to risk exploding dulce de leche, so I found another, safer-sounding method. You pour the sweetened condensed milk in a pie dish, cover tightly with foil and bake in a water bath for a while, stirring every now and then. I think mine took close to two hours to be completely done and I was pleased with the result.

Final Thoughts

I loved this week! My favorite food was the Milanesa but I also really enjoyed the Fugazzeta and Choripan, and of course the Alfajores. But everything was delicious, and there were even some dishes I wanted to try but couldn’t fit in, so I know I will revisit Argentinian cuisine.

Next week, I will be cooking food from Armenia.

Join the Conversation

  1. Hi Rebecca. How I wish I lived nearby! I would help you eat all those gorgeous leftovers. I love your blog. You are so enthusiastic (and industrious!) I think my favourite this week is the empanadas. I had never come across them before…I lead a sheltered life! Now, after seeing all those wonderful recipes, I can say I love Argentinian food. Thanks for all the fun.

    1. I need some nearby friends who like to eat! I have to be careful not to make too much over the next few weeks so I can cut down on what’s in my freezer. The empanadas were really good; I suppose they’re probably not so common in Australia.

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