Less mundane burritos ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

09 July 2007

Less mundane burritos

AKA "brunch with no eggs" due to the large amount of potatoes and spicy business involved. Or perhaps "huevos rancheros with no eggs" since we didn't sit around and have four cups of cafe con leche apiece either. Now that sounds really good. BREAKFAST.

In this instance I wanted lots of spicy potato and white cheese of some variety in a huge roll of burrito. I also wanted corn, which we didn't have. Blast! So I have to figure out some other, similarly awesome vegetable to add. This necessitated a look through all the little bits and pieces we have lying around in the refrigerator.

Here's one: oh my god olives! Premarinated! Chopped! Panfried!

This was perhaps the best idea ever. It even made the roasted red pepper I had left over from salad the other day fade into the background a bit.

In another instance, I would use both olives And corn for maximum deliciousness.

Potato and olive burritos

olive oil and/or butter
boiling potatoes
hot pepper of some type
soaked and boiled black beans
corn, fresh or defrosted
black olives
spices: cumin, cayenne, oregano or cilantro, salt, pepper
white cheese
salsa or whatever

Get a big pot 2/3 full of water and bring it to a boil.

Start with potatoes. Dice a bunch of them up. I used maybe five or six for four burritos. I always use redskin (because I'm cheap) or yukon gold (because they're delicious). In this case it was redskin. When the water comes to a boil, slide the potatoes in and blanch them for maybe ten minutes. You want them about halfway cooked at this point. Drain them.

Bust out a sauté pan and heat it on medium high. When the potatoes are done boiling, stick a substantial slug or three of oil and a chunk of butter in the pan. Swirl everything to melt the butter, then add several good shakes of cumin, one of cayenne, and a few of oregano or cilantro. You want to toast the spices so they get faintly aromatic. Stir everything up and cook for a minute or two, until you can smell something besides oil and butter. Then tip in the potatoes, plus some salt and pepper.

Get the potatoes into a single layer in the pan, if possible. Then let them be. Don't move them for a good three or four minutes. This will let them start to get some golden crust action on. After a bit, stir it up and get another single layer going. You may need to add more oil so nothing sticks. Repeat this a few times, until the potatoes are browned at least a little on all sides.

While the potatoes are crusting, chop up a hot pepper of your choice and four or five cloves of garlic. If you want onion, that'll work too. What's around? Use that. If you have corn, defrost it under hot water or cut it off the cob. Anything else you might want to add should go in at this step, too: I had that roasted red pepper. Stir the vegetables into one of your last crusting batches. Turn the heat down to medium and let everything cook together, so the tastes can mix. Five or ten more minutes should be enough.

While you're letting that cook, warm up your black beans in a little pan or in the oven. It doesn't really matter as long as they get warm. Or you can go without black beans altogether. The whole burrito concept is always flexible.

You can also get the plates and tortillas ready at this point. If you want, you can heat the tortillas in a foil packet in the oven. I just got them to room temperature and layered with a little mild white cheese. Jack or queso fresco are probably your prime choices; I like mozzarella.

Is everything pretty much done? Now then: olives. Black olives are excellent for this purpose; I guess green ones would work as well, but that didn't really appeal to me. You don't really need a large proportion of olives to everything else here; I used about six for two olivetastic burritos. Chop whatever olives you want to use into rough chunks, then sauté in some olive oil over pretty hot heat. Double olive for maximum deliciousness!
When everything is ready, put a layer of beans, one of potato deliciousness, and one of olives into each tortilla. The heat of the ingredients will melt the cheese, especially if you roll quickly for maximum insulation. You can also add salsa, lime, or chopped fresh vegetables if you want. They're burritos; they can take it.

Eat swiftly, while things are good and hot. Have a beer. Have that cafe con leche. Oh man, do I ever want some of that now. It is time for dinner!

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