Friday, 17 September 2010

Now that the nights are drawing in quicker than Jodie Marsh finding a photo opportunity, and there's a wee nip in the air, the temptation for stodgy food increases.

But fear not, if you still want it healthy(ish). This recipe can incorporate many of your five a day, and doesn't have to be loaded with fat - it depends really on how much cheese you like!

I make burritos; the tortillas are wrapped into parcels. You can roll them instead to make enchilladas, but you don't get the nice alliterative title!

Start off by preparing the spice mix. I am a wuss when it comes to spicy food; this mix is on my limit, but hot food lovers will find it flavoursome rather than kicking. This recipe will give you enough filling for 6 burritos. I mix:

2 beef stock cubes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
½ tsp cayenne pepper - this is what gives the kick, so the braver among you may want to add more

I grind them all together in a pestle and mortar, but giving them a stir with a spoon in a bowl will do.

Put to one side, then finely chop:

1 onion
garlic (add as much or as little to taste)
1 deseeded pepper - ideally should be no bigger than the kidney beans you will add

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan, and soften the onions and garlic.

Take one small tin of kidney beans, open, and drain - leave to one side, to allow all the fluid to dry off.

Once the onions start to soften, add the peppers, and turn up the heat slightly, as the peppers will release moisture and you end up with a gloopy mess. Fry off for about 2-3 mins.

Add a 250g portion of beef mince. I use beef. You can use any other mince meat, if you wish. Hey, you can even use soya or quorn mince (heresy! - Tim) if you are a veggie/vegan, obviously missing out the stock cubes. Brown the mince (meat only); you may need to turn the heat up again, slightly.

Once browned, add the beans, turn the heat back down to medium.

Add the spice mix, and stir well.

Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes to the filling.

Leave to simmer for 10-15 mins, if you have time. At this point you can add other veg to the filling. I like sweetcorn, and some chopped fresh tomatoes, but you may want to experiment with something else. Hell you could add some mushrooms, but as a hater of fungi, I wouldn't ruin the dish ;-)

Leave the mixture to cool before making the burritos. It has a better consistency, and it also makes wrapping the tortillas easier. The easiest thing to do is to spread the tortillas onto a clean surface and then equally divide the filling among them. As I wrote earlier, I make 6 burritos but if you're brave/skilled, you could get 4 bigguns. Make the parcel by folding the bottom over the filling, fold in the sides, then fold over the top.

Place the burritos into an oven proof dish. Spoon the remainder of the chopped tomato over the top; you can add some of the spice mix to this, or you can stir in some tabasco sauce, if you really do like a kick. Sprinkle over some grated cheese.

Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 20 mins, or until everything looks golden. Mine look darker as I used wholemeal wraps and Red Leicester cheese. The burritos can be served as a meal in itself, with a token salad (a la my creation), or with rice/chips/wedges if you are feeding more than two.

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