Did you have a favorite haunt when you were a teenager? Some place you went with your friends for a bite to eat before a night of shenanigans. My favorite hangout was the El Burrito in Fort Collins, Colorado, founded in 1960 by Jesse and Dorothy Godinez. My friend, Jan McCluskey, and I would eat there almost every Friday night feeling very grown up going out to dinner without our parents. After dinner, well, that is another story.
The El Burrito is still in business today, spanning over six decades of service to the Fort Collins community, and it remains a favorite with townies. I am not sure many teenagers enjoy an evening out like Jan and I did. My granddaughter and her friends hang out at Chick-Fil-A, Cane’s, McDonald’s, and Dutch Brothers—all national chains. Not the same atmosphere as the El Burrito. The Godinez family introduced us to an authentic taste of Mexico—tacos, tostadas, burritos, salsa, and sopapillas. Might be one of the reasons I have such a fondness for Mexican cuisine.
I’ve been making burritos for decades. My recipe has evolved over the years, and I have tweaked it and changed it until I think it is just about perfect. When I first started making burritos, you couldn’t buy fire-roasted tomatoes. I love cooking with them. They add a smokey, spicy flavor to this recipe. If you don’t like things too hot, use diced or peeled tomatoes. Some people use pork roast when they make green chile and slow cook it all day. I use diced pork. My recipe for green chile can be prepared in about 15 minutes—although I like simmering it for at least two hours. The filling for the burritos can be completed in about 10 minutes, making this an easy, yet delicious weeknight meal.
Smothered Beef and Bean Burritos Makes 6 Burritos Serves 6
For the green chile:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil 2 pounds boneless pork chops, cut into bite-size pieces or 2 pounds diced pork 4 tablespoons flour 2 cans (14.5 ounces) Kroger® Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes in Tomato Purée, Salsa Style 2 cans (14.5 ounces) water ¾ cup white onion, chopped 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chiles (buy Hatch® if they are available) 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste 1 teaspoon large grind black pepper, or to taste
In a large kettle, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add bite-size pieces of pork and sauté until brown. Add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue to brown pork, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes into the kettle. Fill the tomato cans with water and add water to the kettle, along with onion, green chiles, garlic, and cumin. Add salt and pepper as specified, or to taste. Cover and simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer this chile cooks, the better the flavor.
For the burritos 1 pound ground beef ½ cup white onion, chopped 1 can (16-ounces) refried beans 1/3 cup of your favorite salsa 1 cup green chile 6 burrito-size flour tortillas 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to broil. For burrito filling: In a large skillet, cook ground beef and onion over medium heat until ground beef is brown, crumbling meat with a fork until it is the size of peas. Drain. Add refried beans, salsa, and green chile and mix.
For the garnish:
Chopped tomato Lettuce, shredded Sour cream Guacamole Pickled jalapeño slices Minced cilantro To prepare burritos, place tortillas on an oven-proof dinner plate and place one-sixth of the filling down the center of each tortilla and roll. Position rolled burrito so that the edges are down on the dinner plate. Smother the burrito with 1 cup green chile, or to taste, and top with ½ cup shredded Cheddar cheese. Place the plate under the broiler of your oven until cheese melts. Garnish as desired.
Shopping for pork: When buying pork, look for cuts with a small amount of fat on the outside and meat that is firm with a pinkish red color. Pork will have better flavor and tenderness if it has a small amount of marbling, small speckles of fat within the meat. Choose packages that are cold and tightly wrapped without tears or punctures. Pork should not be blotchy. Spots indicate that it has begun to spoil. Avoid packages if the meat is pale in color or it contains liquid. Also, avoid meat that has dark-colored bones.
Storing pork: Pork products should be refrigerated at 40 degrees F immediately upon arriving home. Use or freeze fresh pork within 3 to 5 days.
Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at CarolAnn@CarolAnnKates.com and explore her website, www.CarolAnnKates.com.
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