Monday, April 9, 2012

Little Donkeys

Tonight was my attempt at burritos.  When I went into the grocery store, my list of groceries remained neatly nestled underneath a pile of papers in my car so I had to shop from memory.  Luckily I was able to recall all of what was needed, minus the Ro-Tel, a tomatoe-y concoction that comes in a can and makes all things delectable.  I realized it as I was walking out of the store but was too lazy and hungry to go back inside to get it.  So I decided to flavor the chicken with seasonings rather than store-bought, canned junk.  I'm abstaining from meat as of late so I'm not sure how the chicken turned out, but a friend that stopped by kept picking at it until she left, I guess that's a good sign.
The spread was flour tortillas, white rice, black beans, seasoned chicken, homemade pico de gallo, homemade guac, sour cream and Mexican cheese (which is cheddar and colby jack cheese with some taco seasoning).  I had a hand in the chicken, guac, and pico.
As I said in the previous post, I will try to remember the ingredients I used, despite the fact that it goes against my very cooking nature to do so.  And this will be a work in progress.
Sometimes I have to make an action plan to make sure I don't leave anything out and to ensure that things finish cooking at relatively the same time.  This was always a gift of my mom's that I never quite understood until I started cooking more on my own.  I believe my mom's actual words of advice were, "You'll figure it out."  Thankfully I did, otherwise I could spend the rest of my life making terribly temperature-imbalanced meals.
So, first, make some rice.  I would use saffron rice if I were to make this again, it just has more flavor.  As the rice is cooking, you'll get the other things going.  Second, start the beans.  I used canned beans because they're quicker.  I used 3 cans of black beans and added 1/2 an onion and some salt and garlic to season them.  They're already cooked but it's good for the flavors to fuse together.  Then start working on the chicken.
To make the chicken, you'll need:
vegetable oil
cayenne pepper
chili powder
cayenne pepper

To prepare the chicken: get as much as you think will feed as many people as you have.  I got 6 breasts and it fed 8 people. Cut it up into small, bite-sized pieces.  Put about 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan and put the chicken in to fry it up.  As it fries, excuse me, sautees, add about a 1.5 tsp of cumin, salt, pepper, a dash of cayenne, if you can handle the heat, 2 tsp of chili powder (of course, this is also according to taste), and whatever other taco-y seasonings you have.  Something that might be good would be coriander (which is the seed of cilantro) but there wasn't any available to me.   Cook the chicken completely and set aside.
Finally, start the fresh things.  I made the pico de gallo first.  I had 800 plum tomatoes (maybe like, 10, but it feels like 800 when you're cutting them up), 1 jalapeno, cilantro and the other half of the onion from the beans.  Dice all of them, be sure the jalapenos are really small otherwise you'll be eating tiny fire bombs and won't be able to taste the rest of your delicious tiny donkey.  I would also caution you against cutting the jalapenos with your bare hands as my hands burned for two days afterwards.  (If you forget or don't have gloves, it's ok, you'll just want to soak your hands in milk for the rest of your life.)  Just mix it all up and let it sit while you finish getting everything else ready.
Be sure to be checking on the chicken to cook it evenly.
Finally, the guacamole... this is my most favorite thing that can be done so poorly but when you have it done authentically, you'll never want to eat anything else in your life.  Growing up my mom would make it with a mix and sour cream and it wasn't until I was living with a guy from El Salvador that I learned that it can be just as delicious without the added sour cream and that seasoning mixes are actually just combinations of seasonings that are around your house, usually.  I had two avocados so I removed the mushy, green goodness from the confines of its rough skin and put it in a bowl.  I mashed it with a fork to make it slightly chunky but mostly creamy.  I added fresh cilantro and about a quarter of a yellow onion diced really small.  I added chili powder, salt and pepper.  I know it's not very fancy but it works for me!
Check your chicken, rice and beans.  The beans will be done, as long as they're hot.  As soon as your chicken and rice are done, you're ready to build the most beautiful creation called a burrito (or little donkey... I like little donkey better because it's funny).
Now I would definitely not say that this was my best creation yet.  Far from it, actually.  But men are so easy to please when it comes to food that they went like hot cakes (which is a recipe for another day, maybe)!
On the particular burrito shown, there is no meat or cheese.  And I also don't like lettuce on much except in salads so that wasn't included.  But feel free to put on them whatever makes your burrito bray (hahaha, sometimes I just crack myself up!).  And enjoy!

Here is a list of all the things you'll need for this recipe:
flour tortillas, chicken breasts, rice, black beans, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, avocados, sour cream, cheese, cumin, salt, pepper, garlic, and chili powder.

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