Burritos are a classic that has evolved over the centuries as one of America’s favorite Mexican dishes. Burrito, meaning ‘little donkey’ in Spanish, has many stories and angles as to where exactly it originates and like all urban folklore doesn’t have much evidence to back it. One such story is the one of Juan Mendez from Chihuahua, Mexico. He operated a food cart that was pulled by a burro and served his food wrapped in a tortilla to keep it warm. This little story is just that; a story. Besides mentions of a ‘burritos’ date back years before a man and his donkey cart rose to any form of significance. Seeing as tortillas (and wrapping foods in said tortillas) were invented in Ancient Mexico long before the first cookbook was ever written, it’s safe to say that even if the name wasn’t given until millenniums later, the burrito is a dish enjoyed by the Mayans and Aztecs long before Spanish written language.
Tortillas are really easy to make at home, but no one will hold it against you if you go for the generic store-bought kind (unless you have a Mexican family dangerously attached to their heritage). Whichever way you go make sure they’re big tortillas or as you can probably guess they’ll be impossible to wrap. And before you wrap anything in that tortilla give it a little toast on either side in a frying pan or stick them into a hot oven for a few minutes to make them more pliable. If you’re looking for a good tortilla recipe look no further than the one we have right here.
The Rice Filling
Got to have good rice in a good burrito without overpowering it so here’s a delicious recipe I recommend ( its good for a lot more than just burritos too):
- Take a cup of rinsed, uncooked rice and place it in a pot with the juice of a small lime and 1 cup of beef stock.
- Place the rice on low heat and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice, then turn off the cooker and let the rice steam until it is tender.
- Fluff the rice with a fork, add a couple of tablespoons of fresh, chopped coriander and set aside.
The Beef Filling
The meat filling you use is obviously going to carry most of the flavor and spice of your burrito and while there’s nothing wrong with going your own way keeping it traditional is a safe bet. Aside from your typical salt and pepper, garlic and onions are an obvious must (hopefully), chili and other pepper powders are common, as well as cumin, paprika, Mexican oregano, and cilantro.
If you’re making your average dinner and don’t have quite as much time as you’d like, follow this recipe exactly (it’s not that significant with ground beef), however, is you’re looking for tender, fall-apart type meat you’re going to want to braise the filling for at least a couple hours. Particular if you use beef that isn’t ground or if you’re using pork.
Burritos can be served with either whole beans or refried. Personally, I prefer and recommend refried but if you’re going for more of a classic or traditional burrito going for whole beans would be a better bet. If you do use whole beans I suggest just dropping them in with the beef mixture for less hassle, but if you’re going for the refried kind try out our refried bean recipe with it.
Wrapping a Burrito
If you know a thing or two about southern food you almost certainly know how to wrap a burrito and any other form of wrap for that matter, but if you’re a novice and are tried of all the filling in your wrap falling out of the bottom just follow this guide:
- Place a large, slightly toasted (not to the point that it becomes brittle just pliable) tortilla onto a flat surface.
- Start layering your fillings towards the bottom of the circle (not quite at the edge but not so close to the center that one side of the circle overlaps the other). The amount of filling greatly depends on the size of the tortilla which you’d just have to adjust for yourself.
- Begin to roll the tortilla from the end closest to you and when you’re about halfway, tuck in the left and right sides, and simply finish the roll. Do this on a sheet of aluminum foil so you can easily wrap the burrito without letting it go.
- The tortilla does a good job of keeping those little donkeys warm but if you’re feeding a colony place those suckers into a warm oven while you finish the rest.
- Beef Filling:
- ½ lbs Ground beef
- 1 Red Onion, chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- Salt & pepper to taste
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp cayenne chili powder
- 2 tsp tomato purée
- 75ml beef stock
- Rice Filling:
- ½ cup Uncooked basmati rice
- ¾ cup beef stock
- Juice of a lime
- Chopped coriander
- First make the rice filling by adding ½ cup of uncooked, rinsed rice into a small saucepan and adding ⅓ of a cup of beef stock and the juice of 1 lime. Place onto low heat and bring up to a simmer. When the rice has absorbed around 90% of the water, switch off the heat and let it steam for the remainder of the cooking process.
- Place a skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Let that come up to heat then add the minced garlic and chopped onion. Sautee for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cumin, paprika, and cayenne chili powder with the tomato puree and combine the ingredients. Cook for another 2 minutes then set aside to brown the beef.
- Around this time place some tortillas in a warm oven to warm up so they become more pliable.
- Add a little more olive oil to the skillet as needed then brown the beef in two batches. After the second batch has been browned, add the already browned beef with the seasoned onions and combine well.
- Once the beef is cooked through remove from the heat and set aside in preparation to make the burritos.
- Smother on a layer of this refried bean recipe then layer on ¼ cup of the rice, and your desired amount of beef. Add veggies like tomatoes and lettuce as desired then roll up the burrito and wrap in foil.
- Serve with this classic guacamole recipe.