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Milanesa – Argentina National Dish – Day 13/Dish 7

January 19, 2010

Argentina is the second largest country in South America.  To get there from Antigua and Barbuda we sail southeast staying close to the South American landmass.  We will pass Suriname, French Guiana, Brazil and finally Uruguay before arriving at the mouth of the Rio De La Plata where we will make landfall in Buenos Aires, the capitol City of Argentina. 

Argentina has a long and bloody history under influence from Spain, Portugal and the British.  Violent conflicts, greedy despots and military clashes shaped the history of this nation over several centuries.  Today Argentina is the largest Spanish speaking nation on earth in terms of landmass and third largest in population behind Mexico and Columbia. 

Prior to the relatively recent human migration pattern of urbanization, humans fell into several categories.  Classification revolved around food production and was influenced by regional geography. Those that farmed and grew agricultural produce made up one segment. A subcategory of this was ranching and cattle herding.  Argentina’s massive Pampas Region, or terrain similar to the American Mid-West, is prime cattle herding land and Argentina is well known for its beef cattle production.  As a result, the food of Argentina is noted for containing many beef and meat dishes.   Argentines consume about 150 lbs of Beef annually per capita.  The national dish of Argentina is debatable and there are several choices.  One noteworthy recipe is Parilla, a Beef feast with a large assortment of meats and organ meats. Cooking on spits over open flame or Asado is customary.  In the cities, European food is very popular while the rural areas feature more local produce.   

For this segment we will be cooking Milanesa, a breaded pan-fried thin sliced beef or chicken recipe.  This combination features European cooking practices with Argentina’s prime agricultural product, Beef.  The name Milanesa comes from the Italian influence in Argentina’s cuisine.   

Pizza is also very popular in Argentina.  So, I will be preparing Argentine Style Pizza to go along with the Milanesa.  In Argentine Pizza, ham is the most common topping.

I give the Milanesa a 2 for difficulty.  The hardest part in my recipe is pounding out the sirloin.  Using a mallet, this will tenderize the lean and normally tough cut.  More often than not Sirloin is either roasted or slow cooked to achieve tenderness.  By using a meat  tenderizer, we will get a “cube” or “Swiss” steak result.  This is not necessarily required and is not called for in many recipes. Once battered, the steak only takes about 3 minutes to cook and comes out easy to chew and full of flavor.


Bistec Milanesa


Appearance: 3 out of 5

Aroma:  4 out of 5

Flavor: 3 out of 5

Total: 10 out of 15


2 lb. eye of the round (sliced 1/2 inch thick and then pounded with a mallet)

4 eggs

2 cups Flavored Bread Crumbs

1 tbsp chopped Parsley

2 tbsp Grated Parmesan cheese

1 tbsp Dry or Fresh chopped Oregano



Mix eggs with parsley, grated Parmesan cheese and oregano.

Dip slices of meat into egg wash.

Take out of egg mix and cover the meat with Bread Crumbs.

 Fry it with plenty of vegetable oil and serve warm.

Traditional sides include Lettuce, Tomato, Cheese and Mayo served as a sandwich or as an entree.

Serves approximately 6

recipe adapted from:,1926,145177-237206,00.html


Pizza Dough Recipe:

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water

1 teaspoon active dry yeast (or 1 packet)

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Put the lukewarm water in a bowl with the sugar and the yeast and mix until the yeast is dissolved.  (If you are using a stand mixer with a metal bowl, rinse the bowl with hot water first to warm it up.) 

When the yeast begins to form bubbles (about 5-10 minutes) add the salt. 

Mix in the flour gradually (if using a stand mixer, use the bread hook and mix in the flour while the mixer is running.)  Knead the dough for at least 5 minutes making sure to incorporate all of the flour.

Oil the loaf of dough with the vegetable oil or us olive oil instead.

Make a very shallow X mark cut in the loaf with a sharp small knife to keep the dough from splitting as it rises.

Cover with a damp towel and put in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Punch down the dough to release trapped gasses.

Divide dough into two pieces.

Generously oil a round pizza pan.

Spread the dough onto the pan  stretching it until the glutens relax and the dough fits the pan. 

Tomato Sauce Recipe:


3 cloves garlic, sliced thin

1 cup Diced Onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

crushed red pepper flakes,  to taste

oregano, to taste

1 large can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

Put the olive oil in a medium skillet and heat over medium heat. 

Add the onions andsaute for 3 minutes stirring as you go. Add the garlic and saute an additional minute. 

Add the tomatoes and stir until incorporated. 

Mix in remaining ingredients. 

Raise heat briefly, bringing the sauce to a simmer, and then lower it and let  simmer, uncovered, for about a half hour or until it has thickened. Officially the worlds longest link!!

 Top the pizza dough with the sauce using a spatula or spoon.  Add Mozzarella or other soft pizza cheese.  Top with sliced ham and any other ingredients you may want.  Try blue cheese and ingredients like pineapples or artichokes for variety. 

Bake the pizza for ten minutes on the lower rack of the oven then 10 more on the upper rack.

Next time we travel to Armenia for a stab at Harissa and Lavash!  Stay Tuned!!


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