ORIGINAL RECIPE: The Pioneer Woman. As in, I was doing the dishes and listening to her Food Network show in the next room, and this is what I remembered (and modified) from it. Also, I used Sheri-DBD’s recipe from allrecipes.com for “Mexican Red Sauce”*
TIMING: Since I made enough for three families, in two variations, I can’t rightly say. It took me like 2 hours
DIFFICULTY: Not hard
TOOLS: Baking pan, knives, usual things. Oh, and a blender
COOK TYPE: Stovetop and oven
HEALTH: Even though it feels like one of those indulgent American concoctions based loosely on a foreign food tradition, it’s actually on the healthy side (of American concoctions based loosely on a foreign food tradition). Just ground meat–which could be chicken–beans, and tons of veggies–some cooked and some raw–with some whole grain tortillas. You almost can’t go wrong, even with the splash of cream in your beans.
EXPERIENCE: I have not had a dishwasher for the past month or so. Couple that with the layout of our house and how isolated one is when in the kitchen, and I knew I needed something to keep me company for all those extra hours up to my elbows in suds. I can hear the TV in the lounge from the kitchen, but not see it, so I wanted to “watch” a show that I didn’t mind missing the visuals. In walked The Pioneer Woman.
Then my sister’s family went to Germany and my mom went away for her anniversary. By the time everyone returned, I just wanted to have a nice get-together and do my kind of love by stuffing them all within an inch of their lives. I thought of the episode of Pioneer Woman I had just heard because she made these burritos for a crowd and they seemed relatively affordable. And who wouldn’t want to try out a giant pico de gallo?
The extended family loved these burritos with their kooky salad. Personally, I liked the salad more than the burritos, as they were a little heavy and one-note for me. But still, a crowd pleaser, at least for a bunch of Midwesterners.
NOTES: I made one pan of black bean and beef burritos and one pan of pinto bean and chicken burritos. Besides the type of beans and meat I bought, there was absolutely nothing different about them. In the end, the chicken and pinto went over better, but both were enjoyed.
You do not need to completely mash the beans into a paste. You can leave some bits and pieces for a more interesting texture to your refried beans.
- In a blender, dump 15 oz diced, crushed, or whole tomatoes, 1/2 cup water, 3 oz tomato paste, 1/2 rough-chopped white onion, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 tablespoons cilantro, juice of 1/2 lime, 1/2 rough chopped green bell pepper, 1/2 jalapeno, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/8 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Blend to smooth.
- Pour sauce into a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a wide skillet over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter. Add 1/2 diced white onion and saute until translucent. Add 2 cloves pressed garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Add 2 cans drained pinto (or black) beans. Quickly use a potato masher to mash the beans to desired consistency. Stir in 1/2 cup cream and a generous pinch of salt. Taste for salt and pepper, then set aside.
- In another wide skillet over medium-high heat, pour 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add 1/2 diced white onion and saute until translucent. Add 1 pound ground chicken (or beef) and stir, breaking up, until completely browned.
- Scoop a small ladle-ful of tomato sauce from your sauce pan and pour it into the meat. Stir around. You want the meat to be wet, but not saucy. Add more as needed, then taste for salt and set aside.
- Set up a work station with a baking pan, 6-8 whole grain tortillas (preferably burrito-size), 8 oz grated cheddar or Jack, the meat, the beans, and the sauce.
- Take one tortilla and spread down the middle with 1/6th (or 1/8th) of the bean mixture. Cover that with 1/6th of the meat. Sprinkle with a little cheese. Roll up and place, seam side down, in the pan. Repeat until all burritos are done.
- Bake at 375F for 20 minutes.
- Top burritos with the remaining tomato sauce and remaining cheese. Bake for another 20 minutes.
JUMBO PICO SALAD
- Meanwhile, for your salad, chop 4 Roma tomatoes into quarters or eighths and place in a serving bowl. Rough-chop the rest of your white onion and add. Cut 2 avocados into bite-size pieces and add. Drizzle with juice of 1 lime, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss and sprinkle with cilantro. Serve immediately.
Serve with sour cream or crema and Mexican beers or virgin margaritas. It needs nothing else, except possibly a chaser of Tres Leches cake.
*Recipe changed from the original.