Chimichurri (Dominican hamburger)

Chimichurri (Dominican hamburger)

Some time ago I made the distinction between the art and science of different types of food preparation. My basic premise was that cooking was more of an art, whereas baking is more of a science, with certain exceptions to that rule. Something we frequently mention in passing, but have not tackled in depth, is the art – or is it a science? – of serving beer, iced to perfection, Dominican-style.

And when it comes to beer, a chimichurri will always be served with one. Chimichurri (chimi) is the Dominican hamburger, which borrows the name from the famous Argentinian sauce. It’s not clear why the coincidence in names, as it is the only thing they have in common. Chimi are not usually prepared at home, but bought from street food stands.

Each stand has its own recipe, seasoning, secrets and fans. It’s impossible to find a standard recipe, but this will allow you to make it at home with successful results.

Dominican fria, a very cold beer

But, back to beer…

Dominicans are famous for their laid-back approach to most things in life. Pursuit of pleasure is a national sport in this lively Caribbean culture. People as a rule do not dwell on the negative, despite the fact that life for most is far from easy. The hardships of life are shrugged aside with comments like ¿y es fácil? and the fun begins. When people get together whether for ‘la chercha’ (lively gossip and chitchat) dancing, a heated ‘tertulia’ (debate, usually about cultural topics), a game of dominoes, a hearty meal, a trip to the river or the beach, the beers are put on ice and are downed as an inseparable part of the experience.

Make no mistake: despite the setting, drinking beer is no carefree pursuit but a serious and meticulous business that has to be done in the precisely correct manner. It has intricate rules and regulations, and a long list of quasi-scientific terminology. Wine snobs beware: you have serious competition here. Before you look down your rosy noses at Dominicans who serve their red wine chilled, check the temperature of the beers you are serving!

Chimichurri (chimi): Dominican hamburger

Up there with serving easy-cook rice (spit!) and instant coffee (seethe!) one of the greatest social gaffes one can make in Dominican company is to serve a beer that is anything but ‘en el punto’. This is where the refrigeration and serving of beer becomes both a science and an art. A Dominican drinks his or her beer just short of freezing. If ice crystals start to form or the foam begins to freeze, it is too cold. In colmados, bars and restaurants the beer is refrigerated in special fridges, something in between a fridge and a freezer, which keep the bottles at the optimum temperature. In Dominican homes, the beer is ordered from the colmado ‘bien fria’ (very cold) but is still placed in the freezer compartment for a good few minutes before serving.

Dominican beer is pilsner beer, which is traditionally served ice-cold all over the world, but it is not unheard of to be served a beer at room temperature in certain countries. Now for my obligatory bit of Brit-bashing: in the UK traditional beers like bitter are served ‘warm’ so some people there still make the mistake of serving lager (pilsner) that is not sufficiently refrigerated. Even in Spain where some bars and restaurants take the trouble to ice the glasses before serving the beer, it sometimes happens that they run out of cold ones and think nothing of handing you a warm bottle, to the extent that both myself and my Presidente-worshipping husband all but totally give up beer when we are outside the DR.

Chimi (Dominican hamburger)

This would never happen in the DR, where even a bottle that appears to be nicely sweating in the heat can be returned with a sneer, universally recognised to mean ‘not cold enough’. There is an entire terminology around the cult of ice-cold beer consumption: Most people simply say ‘una fria’ (a cold one) when they ask for a beer, just in case there was any confusion. The coating of ice that forms on a perfectly iced bottle is reverently called ‘vestida de novia’ (in bridal gown). Another commonly-used expression is ‘ceniza’ (ashen). I have already mentioned ‘en el punto’ meaning the exact point of perfection, before the ice crystals form. ‘Caliente’ which literally means hot, is the disdainful adjective applied to a beer that has been out of the fridge for just a few minutes. The ‘hot’ dregs are discarded and a new bottle – resplendent with a frosty coating – is requested.

Art or science, this is one area where Dominicans deserve a Nobel Prize, to put up on the shelf along with our recently-acquired first Olympic gold medal, if not for the quality of the beer then for the way it is served.

Aunt Ilana
Chimichurri (Dominican hamburger)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Chimichurri is this delicious, sauce-dripping burger that is popular in the Dominican Rep.
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 hamburgers buns
  • 2 cups of shredded cabbage
  • 1 large onion cut into rings
  • 2 large tomatoes cut into slices
  • 3 tablespoons of frying oil
For the beef patty
  • 2 pounds of ground beef
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
For the sauce
  • ¼ cup of of orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of oil
  • ½ cup of ketchup
  • ½ cup of mayonnaise
Instructions
For the sauce
  1. Mix the ketchup, mayonnaise, orange juice and Worcestershire sauce. Reserve (keep chilled).
To make the beef patties
  1. Pulse onion, garlic, pepper, 1 tablespoon of salt, a pinch of pepper and Worcestershire sauce in a food processor until you obtain a coarse paste.
  2. Mix the seasoning paste with the meat.
  3. Divide meat into 6 portions and form 6 patties.
To assemble
  1. Brush a stove-top grill with some of the oil and heat over high heat.
  2. Grill the patties, rotating until they are cooked through. Reserve.
  3. Reapply oil to the grill, and grill onions and tomatoes.
  4. Mix the cabbage with half the sauce made on step 1.
  5. Turn down the heat to medium and briefly cook the cabbage.
  6. Reapply some oil to the grill and warm up the bread.
  7. Put meat in the bun, top with the cabbage onions and tomatoes, and garnish with the remaining sauce.
Notes
Chimi is commonly made with pan de agua (a Dominican bread similar to mini-baguettes, but using burger buns is also very common. Use what you find.
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{ 20 comments… add one }

  • Mariel October 18, 2013, 3:15 PM

    The taste of these Chimi’s are amazing…however what am i doing wrong that they taste a bit dry…any suggestions?

    • Aunt Clara October 18, 2013, 9:40 PM

      Maybe it was a bit overcooked? Also you need to serve right away, the longer it takes the more juices it loses.

  • Rafael Garcia September 14, 2013, 12:43 AM

    This be da tastiest burger in history! Yea

  • Frank a December 23, 2012, 11:09 PM

    Gracias,gracias mi primer flan quedo excelente, listo para la noche buena..
    Este es mi sitio de web favorito.. Con tantas receptas me siento como si nunca hubiera dejado mi pais..

  • ray September 27, 2012, 9:36 PM

    how much ketchup, mayo,Oregano , salt , pepper per 6 servings?

    • Aunt Clara September 29, 2012, 12:00 PM

      It’s in the recipe.

      • Cris October 12, 2012, 10:25 AM

        In the recipe it just says ketchup and mayo, no actual measurements.

      • Melissa Dominguez March 23, 2013, 11:41 AM

        I too don’t see how much mayo and ketchup to add, I guess eye ball it!? thanks in advance… I have tried a few of your recipes and its a hit by my spouse who is Dominican, keep the recipes going and also my spouse is dying for ensalda de lambi (please add recipe) thanks again in advance!

        • Aunt Clara March 23, 2013, 12:38 PM

          For the sauce
          1/4 cup of of orange juice
          1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
          2 teaspoons of oil
          1/2 cup of ketchup
          1/2 cup of mayonnaise

          Good luck!

  • Isabelita Abreu September 3, 2012, 5:04 PM

    Want to try this recipe. But how much mayonnaise and how much ketchup for the sauce?

  • Ana May 7, 2012, 2:17 PM

    Hi Aunt Clara, I just made this chimi recipe tonight and it was delicious! It did taste very similar to the chimichurri I get in the DR in Cabrera & Rio San Juan. I didn't have a food processor so I used a blender, which worked fine to liquify the onion/pepper mixture.

  • Glickman April 26, 2012, 2:39 PM

    I love your website!! Youre so helpful, I went away for college, the majority of the time I have to cook for myself and I miss the food from home so much. Claro nunca me saldra como la de mi madre, pero te juro que estoy cerca. Muchisimas gracias! Aqui puedo encontrar cualquier receta sin estar molestando a mami!

  • Alex Sanchez March 12, 2012, 4:57 PM

    me gusta toda las recetas que hay aqui…

  • Sabrosura October 28, 2011, 1:06 PM

    Chimichurri 1 of my favorite dominican nights fast food after plenty alcohol…Thanks for the recipe!!!!

  • Janeris May 31, 2011, 3:40 PM

    I love your website. I must say most of the dishes are so on point. Congrats. This one I've never seen on a hamburger bun. You should totally try it on cuban-style bread with uncooked cabbage. It's so good. And with cuban bread you can make the patty longer for the big men in your lives.

  • ivelise May 24, 2011, 11:47 AM

    Gracias por la receta. La prepare hoy y todos en la casa quedaron encantados…uno de los comentarios dice asi "Me parece que estoy en Santiago.. nada que envidiarle…lo unico que me falto fue ver pasar un conche" Un millon de gracias.!!!

  • Bernard Starkey March 12, 2011, 5:46 PM

    Our grandson is going to DM for 2 years. I am a talented gourmet cook, but have never cooked DM cuisine. I am familiar with some Poerto Rican dishes having been in New York's upper westside for a few months. I like your site and will try many of the dishes and comment on them. Thank you so much.

  • Jonathan February 9, 2011, 2:24 PM

    Very nice descripitions on your recipes…good to know extra details of some foods