Saturday, March 04, 2017

Chunky Beef Burritos

This is a dish we made at the Firepit in Big Timber, MT. I've made it a few times a year, ever since I left there (35 or so years ago... wow) and it is something that both my girls always ask for. I've never written it down before... so this is probably an approximation. Perhaps I'll try to get the exact amounts next time I make it, lol. This is cooked in a slow cooker (or similar slow cooking method for a long period of time) and amounts are based on how much you want. In other words, if you use 1 lb of meat, then you'd use less of everything else, 3 lbs of meat you'd use more.
Also... while this is "Mexican", it doesn't have a super strong chili powder taste. It is more of a deep beef flavor from the gravy. It does have a chili powder taste, but not as strong as say a red chili. Also, if you like it hotter, you can dice some chilies and add them... to taste.
  • Chunky Beef
    • 1 lb to 2 lb of beef: A bottom round "steak", a London broil, some kind of roast. Diced to "bite size" chunks
    • One onion, yellow or white, diced in about 1" chunks.
    • One green bell pepper, diced in about 1" chunks
    • A small can of diced tomatoes
    • A large can of tomato sauce
    • Chili Powder. Umm... sprinkle it all over the top... Maybe 1/2 C?
    • Lawry's Seasoned Salt
    • Brown Gravy Mix. I'd use a big container that you can get from Sams... but if you are using packets, then probably 2 or 3.
    • minced or small sliced chilies to taste. We didn't do this at the Firepit, but I occasionally will add some Red Fresno Chilies or whatever.
  • Condiments, etc
    • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
    • Flour Tortillas
    • Cilantro, optional
    • Sour Cream, optional
    • sliced Black Olives, optional
    • sliced Green Onions, optional

Prep all the Chunky Beef ingredients. Put the meat, green pepper, and onion in the crock pot. Season and stir. You do not have to brown the meat or any of the veggies. Drain the tomatoes into a small sauce pan, add the gravy mix, heat. This should be very thick, like a paste. Pour the tomatoes and the tomato sauce in the crock pot. Add the gravy. If it isn't thick, then make some more gravy and add it. The vegetables are going to release water while cooking, so you want it kind of thick. Since there isn't that much sauce, it's a bit hard to tell how thick it will be; that is fine. Let this cook on high initially, then turn to low and it can cook all day. If you are prepping it in the morning and going to work all day, just starting it on low is fine. Or if you are going to be home and you don't have all day, you can leave it on high. Basically you are giving the meat a chance to get really tender.
An hour (or half hour if you don't have enough time, or whatever) before you are going to serve it, check and see how thick it is. You can tell how thick it should be by looking at the picture. In general, like a thick stew. Taste it as well. Adjust by adding more chili power, seasoned salt, gravy (if it is too thin). You can make the gravy at this point by ladling some liquid out of the crock pot into a small sauce pan and making more thick gravy paste. This is why I like the big container vs a packet, because I'm going to keep adjusting and I'm not sure how much it will need.
While the meat is finishing you can prep your condiments: shred your cheese (because you never buy the pre-shredded kind that has junk in it... right?), slice olives and green onions, etc.

Plating Micro-wave a flour tortilla so that it is pliable. Make a rolled burrito (you don't have to close the ends) by putting some meat on the tortilla, then sprinkle some optional green onions, some cheese and roll it all up. Then cover it (or two of them) with sauce, some cheese and microwave it to heat it all up and melt the cheese. Then when you take it out, spoon a bit of sour cream on it, with some cilantro, black olives, etc. This is great served with Isabel Rita's re-fried beans! (Which would require a second crock pot or making them a day ahead!)