08 June 2012
Massive freezer burrito stash!
Ideally, we'd make and eat a delicious, healthy, quick, easy, and mood-targeted dinner every single night. However, sometimes you just need to eat but don't have the time/energy/desire to make the effort to cook. Why else does the frozen entree industry exist?
So. To circumvent the impulse to buy packages of frozen burritos--one of our favorite ridiculous convenience foods--I decided to make my own.
The first step was making a gigantic batch of refried beans. I soaked a whole bunch of pinto beans overnight, drained and rinsed them, and boiled them until tender with a couple of bay leaves and twice their depth of water in my biggest pot. This gave me not just a whole lot of perfectly soft and tender pinto beans, but also five--count them, five--containers of pinto bean broth to pop in the freezer for future soup enrichment. That's ten cups of broth! Hooray!
To make the refried beans, I warmed some olive oil in a big pot and added an onion, a handful of garlic cloves, half a serrano, a whole jalapeño, and a couple of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, all of which were chopped. I seasoned everything with cumin, oregano, salt, and more chipotle in the form of powder. When all the vegetables were softened and super-fragrant, I added ALL THE BEANS IN THE WORLD and their remaining broth. I mixed it all together and let it cook for maybe fifteen or twenty minutes, to give the beans a chance to absorb some more flavor. To get the beans to ultimate smoothness, I took the pot off the heat, let it cool slightly, and pureed with an immersion blender.
Voila! A massive pan of refried beans!
To set up my burrito-making station, I cooked some brown rice in the rice cooker. I cut up some green onions. I sliced up some cheese. I found a bottle of hot sauce. I took the beans and tortillas out of the fridge to warm up enough to use. Then it was just a matter of starting the assembly line.
Lay out tortillas. Add beans, rice, onions, cheese, and a little dribble of hot sauce. Fold. Repeat.
I ended up with a massive batch of eighteen bean, cheese, and rice burritos. Hooray!
To freeze, lay your finished burritos on a cookie sheet, seam side down (so they won't unroll). Stick the entire sheet in the freezer for maybe half a day, or until everything is frozen. Then remove the pan, stick your brozen burritos in a resealable bag or other container, and stick them back in the freezer. You could also wrap them each in foil if you're planning to take them to work for lunch. This process ensures that your burritos won't freeze together, so you can actually get out one at a time without having to defrost the entire bag.
To heat frozen burritos, we bake them in the oven or toaster oven at 350F/175C for twenty minutes, or until hot through and beginning to brown. You can use the microwave if you have one. Since microwave power can vary, I'd start with one minute and heat for longer as needed.
These are obviously pretty standard burritos, but the method would work for practically any filling you want to try. I'd shy away from more liquid ingredients--raw chopped tomatoes come to mind--but otherwise, the sky's the limit. I think a black bean, sweet potato, corn, and kale burrito may be next on the list, or maybe a black bean, rice, garlic-seared summer squash, cotija, and cilantro burrito. I may even test out freezing a refried bean and sour cream burrito, for an ultimate sleepytime feast on nights when I want to do nothing whatsoever.