This award-winning dude ranch serves up fun times and good eats.

This award-winning dude ranch serves up fun times and good eats, including the  Chimichurri, a specialty meal made by chef Emeline Prince.
Photo by Caree Prince

Cherokee Park Ranch, based out of Livermore, Colorado, and a 2023 winner of USA Today’s 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, is well known for a variety of outdoor activities, including one of the best unique Western experiences — a specialty meal made by Cherokee Park Ranch chef, Emeline Prince.

Cherokee Park Ranch Chimichurri

1 cup parsley, roughly chopped (about one bundle from the produce section)
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
½ cup oregano, roughly chopped
¼ cup rosemary, de-stemmed and roughly chopped
½ red onion, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (or 1.5 tablespoons jarred garlic)
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
½ cup red wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil and additional ¼ cup for finishing

“I love that it is a very flexible sauce; the proportions of ingredients can be approximated, and you can make it in a food processor for ease or use a knife and a bowl — just like the Wild West, there can be fewer rules! The consistency of chimichurri, when completed, should be somewhere between a pesto and a vinaigrette.” — Emeline Prince

  1. Gather and rinse your herbs — parsley, cilantro, oregano and rosemary — to ensure they are clean. If you are using a food processor, you can rough-chop your herbs on a cutting board or even use scissors directly over the bowl of the processor. Pulse the processor a few times to break down the herbs a little more. If you’re without a food processor, just rock your knife back and forth until your herbs are minced finely, then place them in a medium bowl. Don’t forget to de-stem the rosemary as it won’t incorporate at all and be “rustic” in a bad way.
  2. Peel your red onion and garlic. If using a food processor, rough chop both, add to your herbs, and pulse a few times to incorporate. If using a knife, finely dice half of the red onion and mince your garlic — you’ll want both ingredients to be very fine as they are so loud in flavor.
  3. Add dry seasonings, red pepper flakes, salt, black pepper and red wine vinegar to the chimichurri mix.
  4. With the food processor running on low, stream in the ¾ cup olive oil until emulsified. Transfer the contents to a bowl or container and top with the remaining ¼ cup of oil. The oil topper will keep the chimichurri vibrant and from oxidizing over time. If you are not using a food processor, whisk the olive oil into the chimichurri mixture until all is combined. The consistency of the chimichurri will be less homogenized but just as tasty.

“Always taste your sauce and adjust seasoning to personal preference,” Prince says. “Too sharp from the vinegar? Add a pinch of salt and a little more oil. Too flat? Add a splash of vinegar. The sauce should be herby, bright and a little spicy. Chimichurri is best served at room temperature and can be used immediately but will keep in an airtight container in a refrigerator for more than a week.

“Chimichurri is my favorite thing to have with steak, and on the ranch, we pair it with flank steak because it adds some acid and fat to an otherwise lean cut of meat. Outside of its magical pairing with steak is a workhorse condiment: add a spoonful to eggs, toss it on roasted or baked potatoes, fold it with ground meat to season meatballs, stretch it into a salad dressing, and when we cook for folks that don’t eat red meat, we slather a hunk of cauliflower and roast it as a hearty ‘meat substitute.’ Chimichurri is Argentinian and Uruguayan in origin, and both places have their own strong cowboy culture, so it feels at home on our plate at our ranch.

This award-winning dude ranch serves up fun times and good eats, including the  Chimichurri, a specialty meal made by chef Emeline Prince.
Photo by Nicole Modic

“This recipe is highly requested by our guests and staff alike, but it makes me beam [to know] that it is my twin brother’s favorite. The first time I prepared it at our ranch, he had been working with the herd and new wranglers all day, then had to rush home to his wife and babies. I wrapped him up a plate ‘to go’ with steak and a little ramekin of chimichurri on the side. The next morning, he came into the kitchen bright and early, eyes wide, and said, ‘Was that green sauce for the steak?’ When I assured him it was, he lit up and said, ‘I knew it!’ His enthusiasm around the sauce has spurred me to make double batches when it’s on our menu because I know he’ll always help himself to a generous portion. It’s now commonplace for me to hear him, our wranglers and even the fly fishing guides on the property hyping up our steak night in the late afternoon to our hungry guests, always urging, ‘Don’t forget to put the chimichurri on your steak!’”

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