Carne de onça, a type of beef tartare, has been served in the Mercearia Fantinato in Curitiba since 1953 and it is popular in restaurants all over town, so much so that it has been embraced as Curitiba’s official dish. The recipe is named after a native Brazilian cat known as an onça (jaguar), and it’s said that eating the dish will give you the breath of the onça due to its pungent ingredients. Waiters at the restaurant joke that if a couple is on a date, they both have to eat it otherwise someone will be sleeping on the couch.
- 300 g good-quality beef, finely minced
- 30 ml Congnac
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- ¼ onion, diced
- handful of chives, chopped
- olive oil, to taste
- sweet paprika, to taste
- dried sweet chilli powder to taste
- brown bread, butter and mustard, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place beef on a serving plate and flatten with your hands. Pour over the Cognac and season with salt and pepper. Spread with garlic, then onion. Add half of the chopped chives, and a generous splash of olive oil.
Using the sides of two spoons, mix ingredients until well combined. Add a little more olive oil. Shape mixture into a flat rectangle. Top with remaining chives and a little more oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, paprika and chilli powder. Serve with bread, butter and mustard.