Thursday, 2 June 2011

Red Bean Burritos

Yesterday afternoon I swung by a supermarket on the way home to pick up some tortilla wraps, some guacamole and some tomato salsa. I had asked my stepdad to get them for me when he went shopping, but he wasn't sure he'd even recognise them and had no idea where to look, so we figured it would be quicker for me to go.

Before it was wrapped - you can see the second tortilla underneath

Mexican food isn't popular in a big way here in the UK like it seems to be in the States. When I was visiting the Mid-West we went to Chipotle several times and there was a Mexican restaurant on almost every food court, but here choice is very limited. Some of the big cities have started to have Mexican places, but here in my little town we don't even have a McDonald's so I doubt we'll be getting Mexican any time soon.

I really love Mexican food. Mexico is one place I want to visit some day, to see how the food is properly prepared. Chipotle does nice fast food but I've heard from people who have had the real thing and it just doesn't compare. I suppose it's a little like eating Italian food in Italy, and then going to Pizza Hut. Pizza Hut is fine in its own way, but it isn't Italian cuisine.

Until I can make it to Mexico, I have to get by on my own imitations. I found several burrito recipes, but since I hadn't planned ahead sufficiently to get the ingredients on the weekly shopping list I had to improvise.

I used red kidney beans instead of black, which I cooked ahead of time. I also pre-cooked a cupful of long grain rice. The rice I mixed with some lemon juice (I would have liked lime, but I don't think you can even buy that here), and the beans I fried with some diced onion coated in garlic pepper, because we're out of real garlic. Then when the beans were fried a little I added some more diced onion and half a diced red bell pepper, and put the mixture into a lightly-heated tortilla wrap, along with a dollop of guacamole, a dollop of spicy tomato salsa, a handful of grated cheese and quite a lot of rice.

It was tasty and filling, but there are several things I'd like to change next time. Firstly, I did way too much rice and it didn't have much of a flavour - I cooked it with water instead of stock, which makes a huge difference, and maybe I needed to add more lemon juice and the coriander the recipe suggested. Also, in the first burrito I didn't lay out the ingredients properly: I put them in a way that looked nice for the photo, but when I rolled it up I got individual mouthfuls of each filling, instead of a mixture of all of them. The second one was better, as I worked from the middle outwards in rings so that everything mingled when it was rolled. Of course, properly it ought to have been arranged in lines but I didn't think of that.

The final difficulty was the actual rolling. I have seen burritos being rolled and wrapped but it's harder than it looks! I think if I had used tin foil to keep it all together, like they do at the fast food counter, it might have been easier to eat, but even then I have trouble getting everything into my mouth in a tidy way. Clearly there's a knack to eating Mexican food, as well as to cooking it!

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