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Friday, August 27, 2010

Lime & Black Bean Burrito

Qdoba v Chipotle:

Don't mind me, I just happen to find the "Q v C" debate thrilling. Does it really matter whose guacamole is free? The truth is, I just want the spicy salsa: beef, pork or chicken doesn't make a difference to me so long as I can enjoy perfectly cooked white rice chocked full of cilantro and dripping with fiery chilies.

There is a catch though: the cost. I guess I can't fault them; the average burrito is at least twice the actual size of your stomach. So groaning and panting from digestive exertion we leave burrito establishments everywhere with a full stomach and an empty wallet. But do we have to...

This recipe came to me today when I was virtually rummaging through my cache of recipes. I found one that was especially inspiring: "Taco Slaw" by Mark Bittman. The problem was that the recipe didn't give specific measurements. So when it came to making a "Cilantro Dressing" I was at a total loss. I made a wild guess at ratios and whizzed the cilantro, jalapeno, lime and vegetable oil together; it came out more like a paste than a dressing but I tossed my black beans in anyway and rolled them up with some rice. By this point I was miles from what Mark had in mind. A drizzle of sour cream later and I had accidentally given rise to the "I-just-went-to-the-bookstore-but-really-want-a-Chipotle/Qdoba" burrito. It tastes really great and if I had some perfectly cooked barbacoa or grilled chicken we'd be in the professional burrito business! (Note to self: add "grill pan" to Christmas list). After all the guess work and the dirty dishes I wasn't in the mood to wash and chop lettuce and since we were out of jack cheese (ugh) this is a rather simple version. But for about the same price of an ordinary burrito + guac, side of chips/salsa and a drink you've got enough rice and beans for 2-3 hearty burrito lunches or quick-fix dinners!

Notes: Black beans and rice are especially inexpensive and multipurpose. Cook a little extra rice (inspired by Everyday Food's Sesame Lime Rice) and stir in cooked edamame, 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle soy sauce and you've got another quick lunch. Make your burritos as big or as small as you want and stuff them with whatever you have on hand: shredded cheese, lettuce, taco sauce, sour cream, chopped tomatoes...

Grocery List:
Black Beans
Green chilies

Makes 2-3 burritos (depending on size)

1 cup canned black beans, rinsed
1 cup cooked rice
1 bunch cilantro
juice of 2 limes
zest of 1 of those limes
2 tablespoon veggie oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 green chili (I used jalapeno)
salt / pepper

sour cream

1. Prepare the rice according to package directions (I do 1-2 rice to water). Let cool. Add the zest and juice of one lime and one tablespoon vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
2. Wash and dry the cilantro.
3. Seed the chili pepper and place half (if you like a mild spiciness) in a food processor with the cilantro. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and the juice of the remaining lime. Whiz until the cilantro and chili are chopped.
4. Rinse the black beans and drain. Peel and chop the red onion and add to the black beans. 5. Toss the black bean mixture with the cilantro "dressing", it will look more like a tapenade, and check for seasoning.
6. Now, the hard part: zap your tortilla in the microwave to soften it. Fill the center of the tortilla with a few generous spoonfuls of rice and top with some of the black bean mixture.
7. Dress with sour cream, cheese, tomatoes etc. and fold the top and bottom sides down over the tortilla. Then, tightly roll the tortilla left to right, keeping the top edges folded down. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap to store or enjoy immediately!

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