Monday, August 05, 2013
Fast and Fun Burrito
Now that I live in California I'm surrounded with some of the best Mexican food outside of Mexico, but when I was growing up on the East coast, I knew absolutely nothing about tacos and enchiladas and burritos much less empanadas or tamales or any other south-of-the-border foods.
When I lived in Berkeley I went to a dinner party where the highlight of the dinner was make-it-yourself burritos. I liked it so much that it soon became a staple of our busy lives. When you make a big pot of chili, there are leftovers and those become the centerpiece of the burrito. Add a tray with a pile of chopped fresh tomato, a pile of chopped cilantro, a pile of diced avocados or a bowl of guacamole, some sliced olives, a bowl of shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, a bowl of re-heated rice, a bowl of sour cream or plain yogurt and you are almost there. We used to add plain tortillas, heated briefly in the cast iron skillet and doled out as they were warmed. Now there are so many types of tortillas that we can have some flavored with tomato or spinach or herbs, but I often go with the plain tortillas I remember from my first encounter with this dish.
Once the children were grown and no longer around the dinner table, I lost track of this dish for some reason. I think we've had it half a dozen times at the most in the last dozen years. Today I needed a quick meal and remembered the left over chili in the fridge. Once I discovered a package of tortillas on the bottom shelf the rest was easy. Unfortunately we were out of avocados but it was OK. Even with a limited number of add-ons, it was just as much fun as I remembered. On a warm tortilla I laid out a rectangle of hot chili, sprinkled on some shredded cheddar cheese, a big pinch of cilantro, a dribble of plain yogurt, then folded it up into the classic burrito shape. Brought back great memories I can tell you!
You can make your own memories. This is a great meal to do with kids because they can make it their way. If you don't have chili you can use refried beans or kidney bean, black beans or pintos. If you do that, add some salsa and/or hot sauce for zest.
Sweetie ate up all the tomatoes we didn't put into the burritos and then we ate some wonderful Bing cherries for dessert. Fast, easy and fun.
Make Your Own Burritos
leftover chili OR
refried beans or kidney bean, black beans or pintos and some salsa or hot sauce
reheated cooked rice
1-2 avocados, peeled, pit removed and diced
plain yogurt or sour cream
sliced black olives, drained
shredded iceberg lettuce
more salsa and/or hot sauce
Heat the chili, or beans and put into a serving dish.
On a tray arrange a bowl of warm rice, a pile of the cheese, a pile of cilantro, a pile of tomatoes, a pile of avocado, a dish of yogurt or sour cream, a bowl of olives, a pile of shredded lettuce. If you don't have any of the ingredients on the tray, don't worry...just serve what you have.
Put the salsa and/or hot sauce on the table, along with the dish of chili or beans, and the tray of fixins.
Heat the tortillas in a skillet or the oven to warm them. Serve wrapped in a towel to keep warm.
For each serving, put a warm tortilla on the plate. In the middle put a rectangle of chili, leaving enough room to wrap the tortilla around the fillings. Add your favorite fillings, salsa or sauces. Wrap by folding in one side, folding up the bottom, then the other side. Eat, being sure to have a napkin handy to catch any drips.