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Friday, December 3, 2010

Little Donkeys stuffed with Beans, Kale & Chorizo...otherwise known as Beans 'n Greens Burritos w/ Chorizo

Let's talk burritos today.  Little donkeys.  Delicious.  Little.  Donkeys.  There are countless versions of how the name burrito came to be.  Some say that a burrito resembles a donkey's ear.  Others say it resembles the rolled up packs or bedrolls that a donkey carries.  My personal favorite version* is the story of a man named Juan Mendez who, during the period of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921), sold tacos at a roadside stand.  Now, I don't know the reason...perhaps he lost his stand or decided delivery would pay better...but when he needed to transport his tacos, he would wrap the food in large homemade flour tortillas to keep it safe; he would then wrap each one up in individual towels.  Then he would hop on his donkey and go around the city...his food safely wrapped inside of the flour tortillas.  People came from afar to find this food of the burrito (food of the little donkey) and the rest, as they history.  Also called tacos de harina (wheat flour tacos), burritos are the ultimate street food- warm, deliciously spiced meats, beans, vegetables, and/or cheeses all contained in a hand-held cylinder.  So yes, "wrap" is basically just another name for a burrito, as well.

While perusing one of my favorite new cookbooks, Mark Bittman's Food Matters Cookbook, I stumbled upon this soul-quenching, mouth-watering recipe for a burrito that made my toes curl in delight!  The deep green of the kale combined with earthy black beans...both of which are flavored with gorgeous, chile-flecked chorizo...oh man. Put a bit of creamy queso fresco over the whole thing and wrap it up in a homemade whole wheat tortilla...aaahhhhhh...these burritos are fantastic!  Plus, you could leave out the chorizo to make a meatless version...just sauté in a bit more olive oil.  The double-awesome thing about them is that they freeze very well.  I made a bunch of extras, wrapped them individually in wax paper (alternately, use foil), and then froze them in a freezer bag.  Mexi and I just pulled one or two out when we wanted a meal and re-heated each in the microwave (unwrapped) for ~2½ minutes.  We plan on making a new batch every couple of weeks, so that we will never be without one of these tasty little donkeys when the craving strikes.

Beans 'n Greens Burritos w/ Chorizo
slightly adapted from the Food Matters Cookbook by Mark Bittman
yield: ~8-10 burritos (depending on size of tortilla)

8-10 homemade whole wheat tortillas *see recipe below, or store bought
2 Tbs. olive oil
½ lb. fresh, homemade chorizo, or store bought
~1 Tbs. minced garlic
~1 Tbs. chipotle chile powder
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
~1 lb. kale, roughly chopped
2 c. cooked or canned black beans, drained, liquid reserved
½ c. crumbled queso fresco
Pico de Gallo, for serving

Heat the oven to 350° F. Stack tortillas and roll them up in a sheet of foil.  Place them in the oven to warm while you cook the filling.

Place oil in a large, cast-iron skillet over medium heat.  When it's hot, add the chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat, until it is cooked through.  If the pan is very dry (which is more likely with homemade chorizo than storebought), add a bit more oil.  Add garlic and onion and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until they are soft.  Sprinkle in chile powder, a bit of salt and pepper, and then add kale.  Cook, stirring from time to time until it wilts and releases liquid, ~5 minutes.  Stir in the black beans, mashing a bit with a fork or potato masher, adding a bit of the reserved bean liquid if mixture seems too dry.

To roll each burrito, lay a tortilla on a flat surface and divide the filling mixture evenly among the tortillas (amount you get will depend on size of tortilla) on the third closest to you.  Sprinkle on cheese.  Fold tortilla over from bottom to cover filling, then fold in the sides to fully enclose them; finish rolling and put burrito seam side down on  a plate.  Serve with pico de gallo on side.
Mostly Whole Wheat Tortillas
also from the Food Matters Cookbook
makes ~8 tortillas (again, depends on size)

1 c. whole wheat flour, plus more as needed
½ c. ap flour or bread flour
¼ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. lard, softened butter, or olive oil
~½ c. boiling water, more as needed

In a bowl or food processor, mix together flours & salt.  Stir or pulse in the fat.  Add water slowly, a bit at a time, until dough holds together in a ball.  Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and knead until it becomes smooth and elastic (~4-5 mins. by hand or 1 min. in food processor).  Wrap dough in plastic and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 mins. or up to a couple hours (or in fridge for a few days).  Working with room temperature dough, divide into ~8 pieces.  Flatten each into a disk on a lightly floured surface, cover, rest again for a few minutes.  When ready to cook, roll each disk as thin as possible into circles 8" or more in diameter, stacking between sheets of wax paper or plastic as you work.  Put a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat for ~5 mins.  Cook tortillas one at a time, until brown spots begin to appear on bottom, just under a minute; turn and cook on other side.  Each tortilla will only take a couple of minutes, total.  Wrap in a towel to keep warm...or let coo, wrap tightly and store in fridge for a few days (or freezer for up to a few months).

*source- Wikipedia

Would you like to comment?

  1. I love the story about how the burrito got it's name, pretty cute story. Okay, I'm thinking that I have to buy Bittman's latest. After cooking with him for 6 months I feel like I have to have the whole collection or I'm missing out. It makes perfect sense, right? Besides, this recipe is genius and, as you know, has some of my favorite things - greens, beans, and chorizo! Awesome. Not to mention, these burritos are actually really good for you. Good stuff girli!

  2. I am fascinated with the history of foods, so loved reading about the burrito. That's one awesome filling, Heather, and I really like the idea of having a stash in the freezer, too.

  3. Yummy yummy yummy! I love burritos, and really, wraps of any kind. It was the original fast food, right?

  4. I like your version of burrito origin. I've never really thought about it before. I sure have been missing my Mexican food due to the holidays. Thanks for this post. I'm certainly tired of turkey left overs.

  5. Loved reading the history! And these burritos sound so good with the chorizo which I love! Yum!

  6. Yum to these. Thanks for sharing the history!!

  7. Ummm Yummy! You know I love this, I bought a mix of meats, and will have to make some for myself for lunch!

    Love this history!

  8. My toes are officially curled. I love burritos any way I can get them. But this filling sounds seriously droolworthy.

  9. I love the Bitt-man! I'd never thought of putting greens in a burrito, but this sounds and looks fantastic!

  10. I love that you even make your own tortillas, Heather! And this entire recipe sounds fab. I have some kale in the fridge looking for a home right now, so this may be dinner :)

  11. Yum - I'd eat those donkeys!
    Love that you made them for make-ahead meals - brilliant!

  12. I want a bean and cheese burrito RIGHT NOW! =)

  13. This is a great post...

    I am so impressed on the excellent photos of a difficult to shoot dish

  14. I just loved the history and the burrito looks delicious! You just make it happen! Thank you for sharing such great post always. You have a wonderful week end.

  15. Sad I know, but I never thought about the word burrito and it's meaning origin. No wonder I scraped by in Spanish. ;-)

    These look fabulous. I am definitely cooking something from The Food Matters Cookbook this week. It keeps staring at me from the pile. ;-)

  16. wow. my mouth is watering... AND you made your own tortillas.

  17. I LOVE burritos. I'm from Texas and I can never get enough spicy food. Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

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  19. Love your version of how these "little donkeys" got their name. They look insanely good - love the combo of ingredients in them, and I especially love that you made your own tortillas and actually made them sound achievable :-)

    Thanks for sharing with Tackling Bittman.

    Sue :-)

  20. i really need to get a Bittman cookbook, all of the things i've seen posted from him are just to die for! this was an adorable post and the burrito looks awesome, i love the kale!

  21. That's funny. I love the name of it. I've always wondered how certain dishes get their names.

    I haven't had a burrito in such a long time. You've got me craving for it now.

  22. The name mystery is solved and the ingredients sound great. Thanks, now I need to try my hand at the tortillas.

  23. I love little donkeys! Thanks for sharing this awesome post with Friday Potluck this week - I'm getting so hungry :)

  24. What a great story! It's the origin of the now trendy food trucks. Except it was a food jackass, how funny:)

    But seriously, this looks delicious and I can imagine how good this would hit the taste buds! Great post.

  25. I cannot wait to tell my kids we are having little donkeys for dinner!! I love to learn about how something fun gets its name! Another awesome post chica! Thanks for sharing it with the Bittman Hop!

  26. Okay, seriously had no idea about the burrito story! Thanks for the history lesson along with the recipe :)

    So you are one of many who is cooking from the Food Matters Bittman cookbook, so looks like I have to go get this one too :)

    And, I love all foods that freeze well, and especially burritos!

    Thanks for sharing with the Tackling Bittman Recipe Hop!

    Dr. Laura

  27. Each time, I read one of your posts, I come away with something new. I learn about cooking and I learn about history. I read interesting tidbits and find exciting food combinations.

    Thanks for sharing with Tackling Bittman.