Sometimes, what I blog about depends on what we’re having for supper that night. Tonight it was green chili burritos, so I thought I’d post about how I make them.
I was born and spent many of my growing-up years in southern New Mexico, but I never ate a burrito until I went to college in Arizona. Where I came from, flour tortillas were used to scoop frijoles from the plate to your mouth.
As I said, I learned about burritos in Arizona. There was a little hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant not too far from ASC campus (now NAU in Flagstaff) that served them, only they were called burros. They were hand-held food, not huge knife-and-fork creations like I saw later in California, and they weren’t dolled up on the outside with guacamole or sour cream. They were more like what Taco Time now styles as a ‘soft taco’. (And don’t get me started on that! Growing up in New Mexico, a soft taco was a corn tortilla fried so it was soft, not crispy.)
Okay. Back to green chili burritos. Here’s my process:
Get a cheap roast and put it in the oven at 350 degrees and cook it until it’s done. Say, 25 minutes to the pound. A four-pound roast you'd cook just under 2 hours. Roast it uncovered so that, when it’s done, you’ll have some nice brown drippings in the bottom of the pan and your roast will be brown, too. Tonight I used a beef roast, but it’s even better with pork.
Set the meat aside to cool and put water in the roasting pan to dissolve the brown stuff sticking to the bottom of the pan. This is what makes your burritos good. I usually cook the meat the day before, or I use leftover roast and gravy from another meal.
When the meat is cool, cut it into ½ to 1-inch cubes.
Put them in a pot, add the drippings and extra water until the meat is even with the water. Add a can of chopped green chili for each 3 cups of meat. Salt to taste, and simmer until meat is nice and tender and the liquid is about half gone.
Remove meat from the broth, and thicken the liquid with cornstarch (probably about ¼ cup) dissolved in ½ cup water. When the gravy is thick, add the meat back in, and you’ve got green chili burrito guts!
Heat a tortilla on a griddle. Take it off, put it on a plate, and add shredded cheddar cheese, onions, salsa and sour cream. (Notice the ziplock bag of sour cream by the plate. I cut a tiny hole in one corner and use it to pipe the sour cream on. It avoids the mess of trying to get it off the spoon. If I don't use it all, I just stick the baggie in a plastic container and keep it in the fridge until I need it again.)
When you're putting your burrito together, be careful not to use too much of any ingredient. You don’t want a blow-out. Fold it like you’d swaddle a baby in a receiving blanket: first the bottom comes up, then one side folds over, and then the other. You eat it from the open top.
Whenever I go away on a book tour or to teach a workshop, I always leave a pot of burrito guts and a package of tortillas, and my husband survives very happily until I get home.
I always buy mild green chilis, but you can use hotter salsa if you like more zing.
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