Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Little Burros Burritos


Burrito means little donkey or burro. One suggestion for the origin of the name involves the similarity in appearance of a burrito, sealed only at one end, and a burro’s ear. (I know, really appetizing, huh?) Another implies the comparable look between a completely sealed burrito and the pack the animal carries.

Regardless of how they got to be called Burritos, they were first intended to be a hand-held food item. But the American love of “Grande” has given us Burritos so big they could choke a horse! I sat down to eat at a local restaurant and was presented with something that resembled a football in not only shape, but size. It might have even had laces but I couldn’t tell because the thing was smothered in sauce, or in the local parlance, “wet”. 

I prefer my Burritos to be smaller than sporting equipment, you know, the size I can stroll around with and eat with one hand. A little enchilada or hot sauce or even salsa is fun for dipping, but keeping the outside of the Burrito dry makes for a much more enjoyable outing for everyone concerned.

Little Burros Burritos
Yield: 6 Servings     Preparation Time:  20 Minutes     Cooking: 20 Minutes


• 1 Pound Lean Ground Beef
• ¾ Cup Spanish Onion, chopped into ¼” dice
• 2 Cloves Garlic, finely minced
• 2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
• 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
• 1 Teaspoon Smoked Ground Cumin
• ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
• ½ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
• 2 Cups Frijoles Refritos
• ½ Cups Enchilada Sauce
• 6 Flour Tortillas, 9” burrito size
• ½ Pound of Monterey Jack, Queso Blanco or Asadero Cheese, shredded (or a combination of all three)

Preparation Steps

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Step 2. In a medium bowl, combine Ground Beef, ¾ cup Onion and the Garlic.

Step 3. Set a large fry pan over medium-high heat and add the Beef mixture. Cook stirring until the Beef has browned. Do not drain the cooked beef mixture. Stir in the Chili Powder, Oregano, Cumin, Salt and Black Pepper and then reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the ½ cup of the Enchilada Sauce until heated through and then stir in the Refried Beans and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Step 4. Wrap the Tortillas in aluminum foil and warm in the preheated oven for 10 minutes to soften.

Step 5. Spread ½ cup of the Beef and Bean mixture across the center of the warmed tortillas. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the Cheese or Cheeses on top of the Beef and Beans. Fold burrito style.

Step 6. Place the folded Burritos in a baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes.

Serve immediately with more Enchilada Sauce for dipping.

Tips and Trending

~ Folding a burrito is actually very easy. For a 9” diameter tortilla, start with no more than ¾ cup of filling placed as directed above in the center of the tortilla. The filling should be mounded in a 6” long by 3” wide rectangle, with the long side facing you. Now fold the sides of the tortilla, over the 3” wide sides of the filling mound. Holding those “flaps” in place, flip the edge of the tortilla, nearest to you, up and over to meet with the edge furthest from you. Press down and tuck back the tortilla to snug it up against the long side of the now enclosed rectangle of filling. Roll the whole thing away from you to tighten up the package and place it seam-side down in the baking dish.

~ Another way I like to finish the burrito is to brush the top and bottom of the Burritos with a very thin coat of Olive Oil and place in a skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side to sear until browned. Or place the Burritos on a preheated medium-high grill for 1 minute per side to lightly brown.

~ To make them ahead of time, prepare through step six but instead of baking, put them in the refrigerator. Then take them out of fridge 30 minutes before heating through. For the plain variety, wrap each Burrito in parchment twisting the ends of the paper and bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. For the pan fried or grilled versions, remove from the oven after reheating as directed here and proceed to sear or grill as in the paragraph above.

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