08 November 2013

Burrito Algorithm: A Twelve-Step Program

I've never been a strong proponent of burritos, unless we're talking the breakfast version from Burrito Kitchens. They are perfect. Unfortunately, they're based in Colorado and freshly-made-in-small-batches is their thing, making delivery to Amsterdam kind of impossible.

I've never tried making my own, because I love the aforementioned so very much and, for years, could get them right around the corner. But most mornings lately, I've been jonesing for one, maybe because I'm still smarting from a bad bout of homesickness, maybe because the weather has lost its pulse here on the North Sea. Either way, I needed the clock to read burrito o'clock, pronto.

After browsing gads of recipes and not feeling right about any of them, I came up with six commandments my dream burrito must adhere to:

1. It must NOT be, in any way, dry. Ick. Big wads of plain, fresh spinach are nice in salads, but keep them the hell away from my burrito.
2. It must not contain meat. (I'm not a vegetarian but don't cook meat at home and do my best to only eat it a few times per year.)
3. It must be full-flavored and filling (possible but an extra challenge when following rule no. 2).
4. It must contain a variety of textures and flavors (crunchy, creamy, fresh, cooked).
5. It must not be greasy (also possible but challenging, when rule no. 1 is taken into consideration).
6. It must be healthy enough to eat on a daily basis.

After a little tweaking, I have a surprising concoction that is worthy of batch freezing, of serving to guests, of eating every day. Twice a day, even.

Happy wrapping, folks. Uh, your burrito, sicko.


Proportionately Perfect Vegetarian Breakfast Burrito

Sauce (courtesy of Recipe Girl, verbatim. I'm not messing with perfection.)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 1/4c (32g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4c (55g) tomato paste
  • 14.5oz (430ml) vegetable broth/stock
  • 3/4c (175ml) water
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 large vegetarian tortillas (many are made with lard)
  • olive oil, as needed
  • 14 eggs (preferably organic and free-range), beaten
  • 4 Tablespoons sweet chili sauce (or 2 Tablespoons hot sauce and a pinch of sugar)
  • 2 cups (500g) frozen spinach
  • juice from one lime
  • salt + pepper, to taste
  • 2.5 (500g) cups tofu crumbles
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano, fresh or dried
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated in hot water and cut into strips
  • 2 green/spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 red onions, caramelized (follow this easy tutorial)
  • Cheese of your choice (cheddar/Colby jack/jong Gouda or Belegen work well), shredded
  • Hot sauce (Tabasco, Sriracha, etc.)
  • sliced avocado, salsa, chives, fresh chilies, and light sour cream, to serve (optional)
  1. Prepare the sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat Add 2 teaspoons cumin, flour and tomato paste. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in the broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened (5 to 7 minutes). Season with salt and pepper to taste, transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large sauté pan or wok over medium heat, until shimmering. Mix the sweet chili sauce into the beaten eggs, then scramble the mixture in the pan, stirring constantly. Do not overcook. Scramble until the eggs have firmed up but are still glossy. Remove from the pain immediately and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the same pan, reheat another teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Tip in the frozen spinach (either still frozen or thawed is A-OK), and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated from the pan and the spinach looks dry-ish and fluffy. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. Add the lime juice and cook another minute or so over high heat until the liquid from the juice has evaporated and the mixture is fragrant. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan, reheat another teaspoon of olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Cook the tofu crumbles, soy sauce, and oregano, stirring constantly, until browned and fragrant, about 4-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  5. Caramelize the onions, using this tutorial. This part will take about 30-40 minutes. Do not rush. Believe me, correctly caramelized onions are worth every second. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
  6. Put your shredded cheese, chopped green onions, and rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes in separate bowls.
  7. Now, the fun part: assembly. Stack your tortillas on a plate, cover with a damp kitchen towel, and heat in the microwave for 1 minute, or put in a warm oven for 4-5 minutes. Arrange all your bowls within arm's reach. 
  8. Starting with the tortilla on the top of your stack, start filling. Two tips: Do not overfill, and keep the ingredients in the bottom third of the tortilla. Spread a tablespoon of sauce in this area, add a spoonful of eggs, then pile on a little dollop of other desired ingredients. With the exception of sauce and eggs, I didn't use every topping in every burrito, so each one would taste a little different. Some I made more oniony, some I made more "meaty," and some spicier than others with a generous dash of hot sauce. 
  9. Wrap it up. Although I'm still perfecting my burrito-wrapping technique, mine have ceased falling apart since I started using this method.
  10. Roll up each burrito in a piece of parchment paper, follow with a layer of aluminum foil, and freeze.
  11. To reheat, remove foil, keeping parchment in place. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until hot in the center. I suppose there's a way to do this in the oven, but you'll have to work that out for yourself. If I don't have time to shower, I don't have time to preheat my oven to warm up a burrito. 
  12. Eat as is, or serve with any combination of sliced avocado, salsa, chives, fresh chilies, and/or light sour cream.