Everyone should know how to make one good MRE, which, as those of you who have served in the military (Thank You) will attest, stands for Meal(s), Ready to Eat.
As I now have a good-paying day job, (see previous post) I decided I needed a nutritious, delicious, quick-grab, fast-response meal for lunches, and suppers…pretty much like I have, every time I’ve had a job, since and before my divorce.
One of my favourite MREs (I know a few) are burritos – or should I say MY take on burritos. Unless you are an experienced Mexican or Latin-American cook and/or Chef, o usted es una madre que hace las comidas para su familia con amor todos los días, shut the fuck up about their lack of authenticity! This one takes about 2 hours of prep and cook because it’s done on a medium heat, so you might want to save it as a day-off project. It’s worth it.
So now, I present to you, how to make burritos.
First, get some ingredients.
Which are, in no particular order and not necessarily all pictured, two cans refried black beans; two pounds ground beef; two packets chopped, frozen spinach (thawed); two large onions; six to seven large cloves of garlic; one can of whole kernel corn; depending on portion size and/or motivation to make them all in one sitting when the filling can easily be frozen in an airtight container for several weeks, 16 – 32 soft ten inch tortillas (I use flour because they’re more microwave friendly than the tastier, far more authentic corn tortillas); four packets seasoning (two burrito, two taco); a big bunch of cilantro; two bell peppers and a big brick of Monterey Jack cheese.
You may assume a free endorsement on my part of all products seen, above and below, simply because I bought and paid for them. No association with any of the producers or points of sale is implied nor intended or intended to be inferred. However, free stuff from producers is always welcome.
So what do you do? Start by pressing some garlic.
After pressing your garlic, remember, the First Rule of Good Cooking: Always Clean Up Right Away.
Then, be sure to display the grizzly remains of your victims next to their flayed hides (In other words, peel the garlic first)
Now it’s time to take a knife to some onions.
Now, just in case you ever wondered, here are the top, side and bottom views of how to properly hold a knife:
So, cut the onions into eighths…
…and then dice them (DO NOT divide the eighths into individual tenths or attempt to do so – instead, finely chop the onions, or use one of these.)
Now, we want the onions to sweat while cooking, so liberally salt them. This will likely be the ONLY time you need to use salt, as you’ll see later.
Next up, two bell peppers. Feel free to use any combination of red, green, yellow or orange bell peppers; they all taste the same, just some are somewhat more vine-ripened than others.
We’re going to break down the peppers, same as the onions.
We, unfortunately have to do it the old-fashioned way…
This is about the consistency you want. You’ll want to have a strainer handy to drain out the excess water before you start cooking the peppers.
So, start by heating the big ring on the stove to medium:
And, as usual, heat your big stainless-steel cooking pot until water evaporates on contact.
Don’t forget to use…
Pour some into the bottom of the pot and let it coat the surface, but DO NOT LET IT BURN!
Add the peppers first – they take the longest to cook.
While the peppers are cooking, now’s a good time to open that spinach and upend it into a colander in the sink, to drain out excess water. Give it a press to help…
Keep checking on the peppers as you do this, keep stirring and don’t let them burn. When they’re just starting to be cooked, add your sweaty onions.
Stir regularly to avoid sticking and burning (unless you want a caramelized flavour) as much as possible. When the onions are about done, yep you guessed it, add the garlic.
Okay…what’s next? Well, garlic cooks the fastest, so you don’t have to cook it long before taking the pot off the heat for a bit. Once the garlic’s done cooking, it’s a good time to get back to the First Rule of Good Cooking: Alway Clean Up Right Away:
Back to the fun stuff: it’s time to add some of my favorite meat-animal: COW! Specifically, ground beef! (Feel free to use a vegetarian (something with kale?) or other animal substitute (Chicken, pork, turkey, lamb, human) if ethics/religious beliefs forbid beef, and don’t whine at me)
So, what you want to do is put the pot back on the ring, bring it back up to heat and then add the ground beef, cooking it until thoroughly browned; don’t drain the fat, instead allow the meat to cook in its own juices. For all the healthy, delicious stuff going into the burritos, we can leave the extra fat, and in cooking, fat usually means flavour.
And among those delicious healthy things, of course, are the burrito-ubiquitous refried black beans.
Me Gusta! First step, open the beans just enough to let the oil they’re packed in drain out…
Now comes the really nasty, awful part; the worst part of this recipe…
Yeah, and you still have to do another can…but once that’s done, you mix it into the beef, and now you have your base flavours and filling of the burrito. Now, hang on, this is where things get interesting: Start by taking the beef and beans off the heat; it’s time to SEASON!
So, because we didn’t remove any liquid from the meat while cooking, we just have to dump these packets in. And again, for those of you who think it’s cutting corners, go make your own damn burritos and blog about it. The seasoning mix should be salty enough that no additional salt will need to be added, and at this juncture it’s always best to salt in the plate, not the pot.
Mix in the seasoning while bringing the beef and beans up to heat. At the same time, open, drain and throw in the can of corn.
Now, once everything’s nice and warm, it’s time to take the filling mix off the heat and add some chopped cilantro. Now, for some reason the photos of the cilantro vanished into the nethersphere, so we’ll have to make do with descriptive text:
Cut the thickest part of the stems plus a quarter inch off the bottom. Whack it into your grinder and grind the hell out of it. Before you add it to the filling, it should look like this:
Now dump it in, and then go get that colander full of spinach out of the sink and do the same…
Mix it all together and then take your big ass brick of Monterey Jack out of the fridge:
Now, it’s gonna take a bit to grate all that cheese into a big enough bowl, so I suggest you find something to do for the next little while…
Okay, so once all that cheese is grated, you should know the drill by now, mix it into the filling!
And remember the First Rule of Good Cooking: Always Clean Up Right Away.
FINALLY, it’s time to make some fuckin’ burritos!
Take the tortillas, and lay them on some damp paper towel in the microwave…
…no more than four at a time, and heat for 30 seconds.
For plating or wrapping up to freeze, put the tortillas down in the plate or on whatever you’re wrapping them in, then add a good amount of burrito mix into the center of the tortilla.
Now, whether plating to eat, or wrapping the burritos to freeze, here is the best I can come with for how to fold the goddamn things…
Now, do that 15 – 31 more times and you’re done!
Except of course for the First Rule of Good Coo-