Uruguay’s Sumptuous Staple: The Chivito

Uruguay’s Sumptuous Staple: The Chivito

The chivito is the national sandwich of Uruguay and it not only has a memorable taste, but also a memorable story behind it. The story goes that a little argentine lady walked into a cafe in Punta del Este, Uruguay and asked the great chef, Antonio Carbonada to make her a sandwich. But not just any sandwich–she specifically asked for a sandwich made with chivito, or grilled baby goat, because she was missing home.  Carbonada was in a bind because he didn’t have any chivito on hand, so he had to compromise and voilà! The chivito was born.

This little sandwich is now the face of Uruguayan cuisine and is considered comparable to Philadelphia’s Philly cheesesteak or the Reuban.  It’s served almost on every street corner in Uruguay and has even spread to Argentina, where it’s known as lomito. The Canadian Chivito is a variation of the sandwich, with the addition of canadian bacon. 

The star ingredient is a slice of churrasco, which is topped with slices of ham, bacon, lettuce,  tomato, melted mozzarella cheese. Some other particular ingredients are boiled egg, and salsa golf–a mixture of ketchup and mayo that is common in Argentina and Uruguay. Other ingredients might be added into the sandwich such as red beets, peas, grilled or red peppers, and slices of cucumber. Oftentimes, the chivito is enjoyed with a side of french fries. 


1 soft white sandwich bun (ciabatta, kaiser, or Portuguese bun)

Salsa golf (a mixture of tomato sauce and mayonnaise)lettuce

3 strips pancetta

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

Thinly sliced onions1 thinly sliced filet steak

4 slices smoked ham

2 slices bacon

2 Tomato slices

1 hard-boiled egg, halved

mozzarella cheese


Step 1

 lightly pound the filet steak to a 1/4-inch thickness and season with coarse salt and set aside.


Step 2

Roast and skin the bell pepper lightly toast the two halves of bread and then on the lower half spread a  dollop of the salsa golf, top with lettuce and strips of bell pepper. 


Step 3

In a wide cast-iron pan or ridged grill pan over medium high heat, cook pancetta until crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Wipe away excess fat and add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly charred and softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.


Step 4

In the same pan, toss on your steak and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes – depending on your cut and personal preference.

images (1)

Step 5

When cooked to your liking, layer the ham, bacon and onion mix, tomatoes, sliced boiled egg and cheese on top of the meat. Cover with a lid for the remaining cooking time (roughly another minute) to allow the cheese to melt.


Step 6

Carefully remove from the griddle pan and assemble your sandwich. Press down lightly. 

*Another option is to cook the steak alone and then build up the layers on the bread. Place the completed sandwich – without the top – under the broiler until the cheese melts to your satisfaction.


listening to os mutantes, A Minha Menina while cooking tonight! 




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