Bean and Green Chile Burrito
San Antonio filmmaker Laura Varela told me that this Bean and Green Chile Burrito is her favorite. It conjures memories of growing up in El Paso, Texas. “We’d walk across the bridge to a restaurant in Ciudad Juarez, and my dad would always order it,” she recalls. “I started ordering it, too. . . . They were delicious—made with Anaheim pepper, stuffed with white cheese, smothered with refried beans, and rolled up on those big El Paso/Ciudad Juarez tortillas.”
Based on her description, I made this burrito with a really big tortilla, 12 inches. You can use smaller tortillas if you can’t find the El Paso-style huge ones.
This recipe is from my book, “Don’t Count The Tortillas: The Art of Texas Mexican Cooking”
Recipe for Bean and Green Chile Burrito |
Burrito de Frijol y Chile Verde
Ingredients (makes 4 burritos)
4 store-bought wheat flour tortillas, 10 inches to 12 inches in diameter
1 1⁄2 cups dried pinto beans
1 tablespoon no transfats vegetable oil
3 Anaheim chiles, roasted, peeled, and deveined
2 ounces Chihuahua or Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
Salt, to taste
To Make the Beans
1. Pick through the beans to remove any little stones or other debris; then rinse. Place beans in a saucepan and fill with water 4 inches above the beans. Bring to a boil; then lower the heat and simmer for 3 to 4 hours or until the beans are completely soft. Keep adding water if it drops below 1 inch above the beans. Scrape the bottom from time to time to make sure the beans are not sticking and burning.
2. In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat; then add the cooked pinto beans and all the cooking liquid. Use a potato masher to mash the beans, leaving some of the skin and bits intact. (We want texture, not pinto-bean baby food.) Continue cooking on medium-low heat for 30 minutes, intermittently scraping the bottom of the skillet so that the beans don’t burn. The beans will develop a deep, roasted flavor. Set aside.
To Roast the Chiles
3. While the beans are cooking, place the Anaheim chiles on a comal over medium heat. Keep turning them until all the surfaces are roasted (browned) with blisters on the skin. This will take about 10 minutes. Place the roasted chiles inside a paper bag, close tightly, and let the chiles sweat for 15 minutes. (Or instead you can place them in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth.)
4. Remove the stem and peel the skin off the chiles, then make a slit lengthwise and remove all of the seeds. Cut the chiles lengthwise into 1⁄2-inch strips. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.
To Assemble the Burrito
5. Heat both sides of a tortilla on a comal until heated through.
6. Place the hot tortilla on a plate. In the center of the tortilla, heap 1⁄4- to 1⁄2-cup of hot beans, making a center strip of beans that is 7 inches long and 4 inches wide. Heap 2 tablespoons shredded cheese on top of the beans and add as many roasted Anaheim chile strips as you like, at least 3.
5. Roll the tortilla into a snug bundle, a burrito. Start by folding the edge of the tortilla that’s above the 7” strip of ingredients on top of the in- gredients. Do the same for the lower edge of the tortilla. To close and seal the burrito, fold the left and right sides over the ingredients, which will also cover the folded top and bottom edges of the tortilla. Lay the burrito, seam side down, onto a plate and serve.
The burrito will be delicious all by itself, but you can accompany it with one of your favorite salsas.