Documenting the struggles of one woman trying to live recipe-free.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Grilled Steak & Potato Burritos
I love making burritos: they generate plenty of leftovers for an easily portable lunch and more importantly, it's an excuse to make and eat a giant bowl of guacamole and chips. Frankly, on my plate, the chips and guacamole are the main dish and the burrito gets relegated to a side.
For years I've been making burritos with a mix of broiled or grilled chicken, black beans, tomatoes and cheese then bake them in the oven until the cheese melts. Pretty tasty, but I wanted to try making a different version, just to change things up a bit. Flank steak was on sale on Amazon Fresh that week, so I thought that was a sign to try making steak burritos. Unfortunately, this was more of a lesson in reading descriptions carefully when you're buying your groceries online: groceries arrived and the flank steak turned out to be in a 5 oz portion, about the size of my television's remote control! Luckily, we had to make another order to purchase a few more necessities, so a second one was purchased, but still, I think this burrito would have benefited from more beef. (I love alliteration!)
Another burrito variation that I was experimenting with: potatoes. We had approximately 1.5 lbs of waxy, red potatoes from the CSA that week. I thought fondly of the chorizo and potato burritos from a favorite Cleveland restaurant (in walking distance to wear we lived in Ohio City which was perfect given the number of late night runs sharing a pitcher... or 2... of mango lime margaritas) and thought I'd try to recreate some version of that here.
Finally, as if I couldn't get enough variation from my regular burrito routine, it was the beginning of that awful heat wave so instead of baking, I fired up the grill to heat these through to get the cheese all good and melted. (The foil packet in the picture at the top of the page contains sugar snap peas, lemon zest & juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and dill.)
The overall result wasn't bad. An improvised marinade of orange juice, fresh oregano, fresh garlic, salt and pepper imparted a delicious citrus, spicy, yet sweet flavor; tender texture; and lots of juiciness to the meat. In fact, I kind of wished I hadn't rolled them into a burrito since there was so little of it, I don't think you could ultimately taste it in the end result, sadly. The potatoes were diced and cooked with some sweet onion, jalapeno, and garlic in a cast iron skillet to get a nice crisp on the outside and they still maintained their waxy firmness, giving a great toothy bite to the burritos. Last to the mix was black beans flavored with cumin, cilantro, and a little chili powder. Here is where I should have stuck with my routine and not strayed too far-- I forgot to put a spike of cinnamon in the mix. I really now think that cinnamon is the key ingredient to my other burritos and I think it would have been a welcome addition here. Overall, I was happy with the texture from the potatoes and the juiciness from the meat, but I think the flavors could have been better with a little more steak and more complexity to the spices.
1 package of 8 burrito sized flour tortillas 10 oz of flank steak (would have upped this to a full pound) 1 tbsp canola oil 1 small Walla Walla sweet onion, chopped 1 lb waxy red potatoes, diced 1 jalapeno, minced 2 cloves garlic, minced Mexican mix shredded cheese 1 15 oz can black beans, drained 1 tbsp cumin 1 tsp chili powder (would add a couple dashes of cinnamon) salt and pepper to taste 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped Marinade 1/4 cup orange juice 1-2 tbsp olive oil 1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 jalapeno, minced 1 large clove fresh garlic, minced (yielded about 1 tbsp) 1/2 tbsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
Combine ingredients for marinade in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour into large plastic bag with the flank steak. Let sit in your fridge for at least 1 hour. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side. Let rest for 5-10 minutes then slice thinly.
In the meantime, in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the potatoes and turn up the heat to medium high. Stir occasionally, to get a crust on the potatoes, approximately 10-15 minutes. Add the jalapenos and garlic and continue to cook a few minutes more. Add drained black beans, cumin, chili powder (and cinnamon!), salt and pepper and let cook until beans are heated through. Stir in the cilantro after turning off the heat.
Heat a few tortillas at a time in a microwave on high for 1 minute. Place about 1/2 cup of the potato bean mixture in a line down the length of the tortilla and arrange some slices of steak on top. Add a hand full of shredded cheese. Fold in the sides of the tortilla and roll from bottom up. Continue until you're out of tortillas or burrito mix, whichever comes first. Place on the grill, sealed side down, on indirect heat and close your grill so it acts as an oven, a few minutes on each side or until you get some nice grill marks. Don't forget the all important guacamole!
CSA Count: 2 (4 if you count the snap peas) red potatoes, fresh garlic; snap peas and dill on the side
This has been a year of terrible personal loss and and terrifying challenges in the form of finishing law school and trying to find a job in this economy. So although the world probably does not need another food blog, I started this as a means of keeping my head above water, to keep me balanced and sane, and to keep tabs on my culinary experimentations. The goal is to live recipe free, to be one of those home cooks who can look at what's available in my community supported agriculture (CSA) share box, on sale at the store, in my husband's garden, or leftover in my refrigerator and transform it into something delicious. I'm translating my efforts into recipes that I can look back on to improve upon or if someone who stumbles on this wants to try it out at home and give me ideas for improvement.
I have no formal cooking training. Anything I know has been gleaned from watching cooking shows, reading food blogs/cookbooks/magazines, and trial and error. I can't say that what I post here is worth replicating at home, but people in my house found it tasty so I'm posting it here primarily for my future reference. Also, if you're a stickler for precise measurements, most of mine are estimates unless it came in a package that told me how much was in it.