Well my foodie friends, Fall is in the air and I for one just love this time of year. Joe's vegetable garden is slowing down to a manageable pace, the Labor Day weekend is upon us, the college football/tailgate season is about to kickoff, and, kids everywhere are heading back to school. For whatever reasons, every year at this time, these events inspire me to cook up a big pot of chili, and, it was my plan to do just that until: I noticed I still had two containers in my freezer from last years chili extravaganza, which are presently thawing on my kitchen counter. So, I changed the gameplan. I'm using it to make one of my family's favorite Fall football-watching meals:
A bit about burritos: A burrito is a type of sandwich found in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. It consists of a large flour tortilla that has been wrapped or folded around a filling, then lightly grilled or steamed, to soften it and make it more piable. In Mexico, refried beans, Mexican-style rice and meat (or a meat mixture) are typically the only fillings used. In Spanish, the word "burrito" means "little donkey", coming from the word "burro", which means "donkey". As the story goes, during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921), in the El Paso area, a street-food vendor named Juan Mendez sold tacos at his street stand. Because of the war, for safety sake, it became necessary for him to continually pack up and move his stand/street-cart from place to place. He began using his donkey as transport for himself and his food. In order to keep the food warm as it traveled, Juan had the idea of wrapping it in large flour tortillas. His food invention became so popular that consumers began traveling to him from other places around the Mexican border in search of:
The "burrito", or: "the food from the little donkey"!
Almost 40 years ago, a great and good friend of mine, a beautiful Mexican woman named Toni (Antoinette), who hailed from San Antonio, Texas, taught me how to make burritos the way her Mexican grandmother taught her how to make them. In her recipe, the burritios are filled, folded and rolled, then placed in a casserole (her grandmother used a clay pot with a lid). A wonderful, kind of spicy cumin gravy, made using some of the liquid the meat filling has been cooked in, is spooned over the top and the casserole is baked, just long enough to heat the burritios through. Her recipe is the "knife and fork" version of burritos that my children grew up eating, enjoying and loving!
One Fall evening back in the mid 1980's my family was eating my ~ White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~ for dinner. (The recipe can be found in Categories 2, 3, 13, 17, 19 or 22.) During the course of dinner, one of our sons mentioned, "mom, I think your white chicken chili would taste great in those burritos you make". The very next evening, using some of my leftover chili and Toni's method for making burritos, the white chicken chili burrito was born!
To watch my Kitchen Encounters/WHVL-TV White Chicken Chili TV segment, just click on the following link:
6 cups of my recipe for ~ "White Out" White Chicken 'n Corn Chili ~, found in Categories 2, 3, 13, 17, 19 or 22
1 8-ounce package Vigo Mexican Rice with Corn, prepared as package directs (Note: If you cannot find Mexican rice, any type of Spanish rice mix is a fine substitute.)
2 10-ounce cans enchilada sauce, hot or mild
2 14 1/2-ounce cans stewed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup of liquid from above chili
3 tablespoons Wondra Quick-Mixing Flour for Sauce and Gravy
4 tablespoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Place all ingredients for sauce in a 4-quart saucepan. Stir together until smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and continue to cook until nicely thickened, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside while assembling the burritos as per the following directions:
12 10"-round flour tortillas
1 1/2-2 16-ounce cans refried beans
1 8-ounce bag, grated white cheddar cheese (2 cups)
no-stick cooking spray, for preparing pans
red pepper flakes, for garnish
~ Step 2. On top of the beans, distribute a generous 1/3 cup of the rice.
~ Step 3. Place a generous 1/3 cup of the white chicken chili, in a lengthwise strip, over the rice, across the center of the tortilla.
~ Step 5. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla over the first flap and towards the center.
~ Step 10. Evenly distribute 1 cup of grated white cheddar cheese over the gravy in each dish (1 cup total per dish).
~ Step 11. Bake, uncovered, on center rack of preheated 350 degree oven 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted but not browned. Remove from oven and cover each casserole with aluminum foil for about 5-10 minutes, to allow the tortillas to steam through. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, plate, and serve immediately:
Special Equipment List: 4-quart saucepan w/lid; 2, 13" x 9" x 2" casserole dishes; soup ladle; aluminum foil; spatula
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)