Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Black Bean & Chorizo Burritos

A lot of people say there is not much difference between canned and dried beans once they are cooked, but there definitely is the way I make them. Normally, you'd boil the beans in three times their volume of water for about 3 hours, less if you soak them overnight. I like making them in my slow cooker and infusing them with flavour instead of plain old water. Chicken stock, thyme and garlic have always worked well for me, and because it is a slow cooker, you don't need as much liquid.

After 4 hours on high, they come out pretty soft with a bit of liquid remaining. That is perfect because in this instance, we are making re-fried beans. Refried means well fried, not fried twice. It comes from the Spanish prefix 're' not the English language version.

To make refried beans, you only need to saute the beans in some spices until all the liquid is gone and the beans lose their form. I like adding meat at this point. I used bacon only because I was experimenting with espresso yesterday and had leftovers. Fry bacon until crispy and remove from the pan. Add the meat from three Mexican chorizo sausages. I found mine in a Latin food store in Kensington market. Once well browned and separated, I added sliced shallots because I was out of onion and a morado chili I picked up from the same store. Once shallots soften, add all the beans and bacon, simmer until all the liquid disappears, stirring regularly. Season to taste if necessary. Now you have refried beans!

You can use the beans in a layer dip, but my favourite way to eat them is wrapped in a burrito. Lay one tortilla flat on a surface. I added guacamole first, then Oaxaca cheese (more often than not I use old cheddar but I went a little nuts at the Latin store), a small layer of spinach, a large layer of beans, then some more spinach to make the rolling a bit less messy. Then wrap them up. Here is where you'll regret overfilling your tortilla so don't go overboard. Grill with the seam side down to seal your meal in a neat packet until golden and crispy. I used a George Foreman grill, but you could also use a panini press or a non-stick pan. Mine looked like this:
Stretchy Oaxaca cheese in a messy burrito.

They were a bit messy to eat, especially for a bearded gentleman such as myself. The Oaxaca cheese was significantly stretchier than I was expecting. I'm not sure if I liked its expansile nature, but the flavour was mild and worked well with the other ingredients. It was a bit like elastic curd cheese. Honestly, I prefer old cheddar in my burrito.

The chorizo added a great spicy meat flavour. Ladypants thought my guacamole had too much lime in it, which it did, but I would have missed the guacamole if it wasn't there. Overall, a success, and Ladypants can leave the guacamole out if she wants another tomorrow. I have a ton of this stuff, who wants to come over for a burrito? Seriously. I'm drowning in beans over here.

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