I have an emotionally challenging week coming up and with all the stress of the big things, I seem to need to pile on petty, little, peevish, inconsequential irritants. Like rice in burritos. I think by focusing on the “rice factor” I am, in truth, avoiding the fear of Monday morning and thereby relieving, for a time, my overwhelming stress. So that’s why :)
Tangential Jessie picture.
When I was a child, we had Mexican food at least once a week and sometimes twice or thrice. My Mom charred fresh green chillies, scraped off the skin, stuffed them with raw onions and cheese and fried them; chillie rellenos old school. She made chili (no beans), chili beans(no meat), menudo, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, tamales, refried beans and guacamole. I was her “coupe oignons” and helped with stuffing, rolling, etc.
This was during the time when using good quality canned foods, instead of fresh, was fairly new, time saving, modern and almost exotic. This was before canned foods went the way of Wolf Brand Chili. I believe my Mom liked Rosarita canned products for her Mexican dishes. I see Rosarita brand is now owned by ConAgra Foods, also owner of Orville Reddenbacher, Chef Boyardee, Pam and, wait for it, Healthy Choice. Today I used Rosarita brand refried beans, Ro-tel diced tomatoes with green chillies, La Preferida (what?) green chillies and Pace Hot Picante Sauce because that’s what was in the commissary. I think you can do a lot better by either making everything from scratch or searching out better canned Mexican products. Anyway.
Deep, deep, deep in the freezer I found a package of ground veal that I browned with a few spices and herbs, added a can of diced tomatoes with green chillies, a can of refried beans and simmered until thickened. The look was there. Of course you can use just plain ground beef. I’m just emptying the freezer.
My Mom was heavily into raw onions in her Mexican roll ups. We kids liked them or maybe we just ate them because the alternative was starvation. Schooled in the certainty of being parentally back-handed from the table, we never, ever considered picking them out. This was before Ritalin and my Mom had to raise her children the natural way, without chemical aids. She didn’t believe in allergies, delicate stomachs or children’s food preferences. I’m glad she was a good cook. That made things happier and easier for us :D
My Mom always bought a chunk of sharp cheddar to grate for most of her Mexican dishes. Did you know that Kraft’s Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese has absolutely no carbs in it? Don’t you think that’s odd? I do. Odd and scary.
After rolling up the burritos, my mother always baked them for 15-20 minutes to crisp the ends of the tortillas and heat the fillings. No choice. No microwave. You could probably microwave these but the tortilla ends wouldn’t be crisp.
Real Mexican Burritos
1 lb ground beef
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin seed
1-2 tbsp chili powder
1 can diced tomatoes with green chillies
1 can refried beans
8 flour tortillas
1 can whole green chillies, sliced into strips
1 small onion, chopped
Cheddar cheese, grated
Picante sauce or salsa
Start the meat frying with the oil in a skillet. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and chili powder, then cook for about 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes with green chillies and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add the beans and simmer, stirring until thickened.
For each burrito, spread on some of the beef and bean mixture, top with strips of green chilli, onion and cheese. Roll up and place in a lightly greased baking pan. Bake in a 350 F oven for 15-20 minutes
Scatter some lettuce and tomatoes on each plate, place the burrito on top and pass the sauce or salsa.