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The Chivito sandwich is a steak sandwich from Uruguay and is considered the country’s national dish. It’s a generous, unbelievably flavorful sandwich you will want to try. Picture sinking your teeth into tender steak slices, bacon, ham, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce, all packed between lightly toasted buns. Just one bite and this mighty sandwich from Uruguay will win you over.
What is Chivito?
Chivito, or in Spanish El Chivito, is the most famous sandwich in Uruguay. It’s the country’s most popular sandwich found at almost all restaurants and local eateries.
Chivito is a colossal and decadent sandwich stuffed with egg, meat, ham, bacon, cheese, vegetables, and sauces.
The name “chivito” in English translates to young goat or little goat. While chivito or goat meat in South America is highly prized, this sandwich does not contain any goat meat.
The name is said to be associated with the legend or history of how this sandwich came to be.
Chivito al plato is another presentation of chivito which does not contain bread. It has the same ingredients and is served on a plate without a bun. In Uruguay, the Chivito al plato we had was served with a plate of french fries.
Chivito canadiense is yet another version of this sandwich. This version uses Canadian bacon instead of local ham from Uruguay. The Canadian Chivito is also quite popular.
The chivito is one of the most iconic sandwiches in the world. It is amongst the top 23 World’s Best Sandwiches, according to CNN.
How Do You Eat Chivito?
How you eat the chivito depends on what you order. When it is served as the platter, it comes without the sandwich bread and is typically accompanied by french fries or baked potatoes.
When you order the chivito sandwich, use your hands to hold down the mile-high sandwich and bite into incredibly rich flavors that seamlessly work together.
The chivito is an incredibly delicious carnivore’s fantasy.
History of Chivito
The origins of Chivito go back to a popular legend about a female tourist visiting from Argentina.
As the story goes, she stopped at a restaurant in Punta Del Este, southern Uruguay and ordered “chivito” or baby goat meat like the ones she had in Argentina.
The restaurant owner, not willing to lose a customer, accepted her order. He made her a churrasco or steak, not a goat sandwich topped with everything but the kitchen sink.
She ends up loving it, and the sandwich earned a permanent place on his menu under the name Chivito, going on to become Uruguay’s national sandwich.
Discovering Chivito Sandwich in Uruguay
The Chivito is the “national sandwich of Uruguay” found all over the country. While exploring local food specialties in Colonia and Montevideo there was no shortage of places with Chivito on the menu.
While in Colonia, we settled on El Drugstore, a quaint family-run restaurant with the Chivito specialty on the menu.
We ordered the chivito al plato or chivito as a platter for the first experience and a few days later ordered the Chivito sandwich at another local restaurant.
The Chivito al Plato is a serious dish filled with loads of meat and protein. It has a thin slice of churrasco or filet mignon beef, topped with bacon, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, mayonnaise, ham, olives, and a fried egg.
On the menu, it was noted as a meal for two and it is definitively best shared as it is quite filling.
The Chivito sandwich or Uruguayan steak sandwich is very similar to the chivito al plato just with the addition of the bread.
It’s a massive sandwich that really looks like two sandwiches put together. Best shared, the meat is piled up on each other, and delivers a flavorful and succulent experience.
This sandwich is surprisingly very juicy and tasty. It’s no wonder why the Chivito is the national Uruguay dish.
Chivito Ingredients – How To Make Uruguay National Dish
Making the chivito at home is an easy way to taste the flavors from South America’s second-smallest country.
You need a handful of ingredients and about 30 minutes to sink your teeth into one of the most luscious sandwiches you’ll ever try.
Aim for high-quality ingredients for your Chivito sandwich.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPES: If you love sandwiches and want to make other iconic sandwich recipes from around the world, see our other recipes.
Chivito Recipe Tips
Although the chivito is a simple and iconic sandwich to make, there are a few tricks to help you master the recipe.
- The meat should be cut into flat and thin slices to make it easier to assemble the sandwich. We recommend flattening the meat down using a meat tenderizer.
- Another key to an exceptional chivito sandwich is the quality of the sauces. We use mustard, oregano, and mayonnaise. Adjust the amounts to your liking.
- Finally, cook everything in one pan of oil. In the same pan, fry the bacon, the egg, the meat, and even the bread. This will give your chivito much more flavor.
What Type of Meat To Use For Chivito?
The meat used in the chivito recipe is called “churrasco” in Uruguay. It’s a long flat cut of meat that is very similar to sirloin steak, and it is thinly sliced.
It’s a juicy and flavorful cut of steak taken from the hip of the cow.
What Type of Bread to Use for Chivito Sandwich?
The chivito uses artisanal bread with a hard exterior and a soft crumbly interior. Unlike traditional sandwiches, you don’t want to use sliced bread or a hamburger bun.
The best option would be to use a not-too-crunchy baguette or ciabatta bun.
You want the bread to have a hard crust and make sure it is lightly toasted for the sandwich.
How To Assemble The Chivito Sandwich?
You want to assemble the chivito steak sandwich delicately, both inside and outside the pan.
Start by assembling the ingredients inside the pan. First the meat, then the fried egg, mozzarella cheese, ham, and bacon.
On a clean plate or counter, place some lettuce leaves on the bottom bun and then stack the meat and other ingredients.
And, the last part is to arrange the tomatoes and onions on top.
Chivito Uruguayan Steak Sandwich Step by Step Instructions
Season and Cook Sirloin Steak
Season the meat with salt, pepper, and oregano. And, then cook the sirloin medium rare for about 3 minutes until golden brown.
Fry Bacon and Onions
Fry bacon in a pan until brown and slightly crispy. Remove the cooked bacon and let it drain on a paper towel. In the same oil, fry the onions until slightly crispy. Remove and set aside.
Prepare the Chivito Sandwich Bread
Cut the bread into pieces about 6 inches in length. Then cut the bread into two to make bread slices.
Before assembling the sandwich, slightly brown each slice of bread in the same pan you have been cooking with. Allow the grease to soak slightly into the bread.
Assemble the Chivito Sandwich Bread
Start assembling the chivito sandwich in the pan. Start with the steak and place the fried egg on top. Add sliced ham and then melt the cheese.
On a plate, add the rest of the ingredients starting with the lettuce leaves, tomatoes and onions. Spread the sauce on the top bun and put the sandwich together.
- 4 tbsp oil
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 300 g sirloin 4 thin slices
- 1 baguette bread long artisanal
- 85 g bacon 6 thich slices
- 80 g onion medium size, cut into slices
- 5 leaves lettuce
- 3 eggs medium, or 2 large
- 60 g ham 4 slices
- 60 g mozzarella cheese 4 slices
- 60 g tomato
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Mix mayonnaise, mustard, one tablespoon of oil, and ½ tablespoon of oregano in a small bowl. Stir well until the sauce is smooth. Set aside.
- Place sirloin steaks in a bowl and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and oregano. Rub the meat well and make sure it is well seasoned.
- Cut the bread into portions of about six inches; then cut it in two to make the bread slices.
- Arrange the frying pan where you will make the chivito; Turn the stove on to medium-high and pour the remaining oil into a frying pan. Fry the bacon until it is golden brown. Remove cooked bacon from the skillet and place it on a plate with paper towels to let the fat drain.
- Immediately after, add the sliced onion and fry them in the same oil. Remove the onions and put them on a separate plate.
- Let the oil continue to cook on high heat for, about three minutes, and then cook the sirloin slices one at a time until medium rare.
- Fry the eggs in a separate pan and place them on top of the meat. Cover with a slice of ham.
- Place mozzarella cheese on top of the ham and melt the cheese.
- Once the cheese melts, remove from pan and set aside on a plate to start assembling the sandwich.
- At the same time, place the buns in the pan and let them cook until lightly toasted on both sides.
- Remove the bread and add a generous layer of the mayonnaise sauce. Place the meat, egg, and mozzarella cheese on top of the lower bun.
- Add the fried bacon slices, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce.
- Spread another generous amount of the mayonnaise sauce on the top bun and cover the sandwich.
- Serve with french fries and enjoy while hot.
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Rosemary is the editor-in-chief and strategist at Authentic Food Quest.
Traveling slow since 2015 with her partner, Claire, she has explored the cuisine in 45 countries and more than 240+ culinary cities.
Her writing about local food specialties has been featured in Lonely Planet, Business Insider, Honest Cooking, Food Insider, and Huffington Post.
As a food and travel writer, Rosemary has co-authored three books, including one in collaboration with Costa Brava Tourism.
Rosemary is an avid runner when she’s not eating and exploring new destinations. She has run ten marathons and counting.
Before Authentic Food Quest, Rosemary held senior-level strategy positions in advertising.
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