Stu News and Photos

My name is Stu and I am here to share what I can.

Nich came back from Hawaii yesterday (soccer tournament - he went with his dad and his sister - they had a great time). He asked if I would make dinner for him, and for his girlfriend. When I inquired as to the ethnicity he preferred (of the food), he chose Mexican.

Now I've never really cooked Mexican before. Polish/Jewish, Chinese, Italian, Cajun, Irish, sure, no problem. And I've made my share of quesadillas, but they are so easy they almost don't count. We live in Southern California, so when you want to eat Mexican, just step outside and there's ten fantastic Mexican restaurants in walking distance. So I've never dug in and prepared a real traditional Mexican entree before. I realized Nich wanted a homemade meal and I realized I wanted to do my best by him and his girlfriend, who is a terrific human being.

I did some scanning through my cookbooks, surfed the web a bit, and narrowed my options. Needed something simple, as I didn't want the wheels to fall off the wagon. I can cook more complicated dishes, but I was nervous about Nich's friend, this was to be the first meal for her at our house. Screwing up was just not an option. The answer: Burritos!

I started out with a recipe I found on the net, but then I changed it so severely that I figured I'd write it down and share it with y'all. It's a very simple dish and I'd assert it's a fine way to explore the cuisine of The United Mexican States. Give it a try as it stands, or with your own variations. Wait, what's that Yoda? "Do or Do Not, there is no Try."

    Chicken Burritos, à la Supermarket

Ingredients:

Go to the market and pick up:

1 rotisserie chicken
1 container of pico de gallo, fresh (canned if you have to)
1 can Summer Crisp or Shoepeg corn
1 bundle of green onions
1 pack of flour tortillas
1 carton/can of chicken broth
2 packs of microwave Spanish rice (Uncle Ben's Ready Rice is the best, hands down)
1 bag of shredded cheese (pick your favorite, last night I used 3-Cheddar)
1 container dried garlic (if you don't already have at home)
1 container chili powder
1 container cumin
1 container cayenne pepper

Process:

Deconstruct and shred the chicken, putting just the meat into a large container.
Wash and slice the green onions.
Open the can of corn and drain it.
Microwave both packs of rice.

Get out your biggest, most favorite frying pan. I use my 5-quart Calphalon pan. In the words of Mr. Ferris Bueller, If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

Get a medium flame going under the pan and put in some butter or oil. Saute the onions until they just turn soft. As they are cooking, toss in a liberal amount of the dried garlic (a teaspoon or two, your taste should guide you). If you want to go to the trouble of using fresh garlic, be my guest, but the taste of the garlic is not a focus in these burritos.

As soon as the onions go soft, toss in the chicken. After a moment, stir in the pico de gallo. Let that sit for a minute or two, then sprinkle in a solid tablespoon of chili powder. stirring and sprinkling, to coat all the chicken. Let it sit for another moment or two.

After you've caught your breath and come to the realization that this is going to taste pretty good, add maybe a quarter cup of chicken broth. This is just to keep things moist, but not swimmy. Then stir in the corn.

Can you start to smell the goodness? Right!?!

Sprinkle in a dash of cumin and then a dash of cayenne pepper. How much cayenne is up to you - some folks dig spicy and some don't.

Lastly, stir in the instant rice. Once everything is good and mixed, lower the flame and let it steep. Let all those flavors infuse the chicken.

As soon as you put your spoon down, heat the oven to 375°. Then get out a lasagna-sized baking dish. Then open the tortillas and the shredded cheese and get ready to fold some burritos.

When the oven temp hits 375, transfer the chicken mixture from the pan into a bowl. Get a big plate for burrito folding and a big spoon. Take a tortilla, put it on the plate. Put one heaping spoonful of the chicken mix onto the tortilla, off-center. Grab a healthy pinch of shredded cheese and sprinkle it on top of the chicken, then fold up the burrito. Not sure how to fold a burrito? Go to YouTube and do a search for Fold Burrito. There are a bunch of videos that all show essentially the same technique.

Once the burrito is folded, put it into the ungreased lasagna pan. When you've got enough burritos in there, cover the dish with foil and pop into the oven for 8 minutes or so. Then remove and serve.

There's lots you can do to adjust this recipe, from changing the meat to to adding chopped jalapeño to covering the burritos with cheese before covering with foil. Have fun with it, and don't stop believing in yourself.

2 Comments:

Ericka said...

that sounds fantastic!

Harvey Morrison said...

Looks healthy for a burrito

harvey morrison

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