It’s June! Summer is finally here! Yeah, whatever. Somehow I don’t think that memo got through to our weather systems. It was hailing on Monday. So, put the heating on, close your eyes, eat Mexican food and imagine you’re on holiday…
Mexican Food Made Simple by the lovely Thomasina Miers promises some seriously tasty and fiery food this month! I am a HUGE fan of chilli, and I can’t wait to try out some of these gorgeous recipes.
Matt & I were lucky enough to get tickets to the New Year’s Eve fireworks at the London Eye last year, which was just incredible! Freezing cold, and not something I’d do again, but I’d always wanted to be there, just once. Anyway, before heading down to (what’s it called beside the thames??) we grabbed some food at Wahaca in Covent Garden, one of Thomasina’s many London-based Mexican restaurants. The food was SO delicious, and we ate plenty of it. We were sat next to the manager of the restaurant, who was there with a friend on his night off. He said how Wahaca was looking to open a branch in Birmingham by the end of 2015. But alas, it’s now June, and I’ve still not heard anymore about it. Even the new Grand Central development doesn’t list them as one of the new restaurants due to open there. If anyone hears anything, please let me know – Wahaca should DEFINATELY come to Birmingham!
So first up this month are the Steak Burritos. Matt LOVES burritos, and I’d never actually made them before, so this had to be the recipe to kick things off!
The recipe refers you to three other recipes that you have to make first: Roast Chipotle Salsa, Chipotles en Adobo and Warm Cooked Black Beans.
My huge order of chipotle chillies arrived in the post from chilliesontheweb.co.uk last week, and since then my kitchen has been filled with their deep smoky sweet fragrance. Beautiful. But when they were simmering away on the hob, softening for half an hour, the smoky aroma was intense! When ready, they were blended with onion, garlic, fresh oregano, thyme, bay, cumin, olive oil, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, tomato puree, palm sugar and salt to make THE most intense, sweet, sticky, smoky, chilli sauce EVER. This sauce will become a staple in my life, it’s so god damn good.
Next up, the Roast Chipotle Salsa. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had salsa that hadn’t come out of a jar, so I was really looking forward to trying the real thing, especially as you start by ‘roasting’ the tomatoes, garlic and onion. I say ‘roasting’ because you actually dry fry them in a pan until they’re all blistered and black. But this process just adds new levels of flavour to the salsa: a smokiness from the charred tomato skin, and a wonderful caramelised flavour from the onions.
It was at this point that I realised my pestle and mortar wasn’t exactly up to the job! I transferred it all to my food processor and pulsed it a few times until it was blended, but still had some good texture. I added the lime, coriander, a tbsp. of the chipotle en adabo and salt, and tried it. YES! This is what real, fresh salsa is all about! It’s an insult to even call the dull, watery, jarred stuff ‘salsa’.
I moved onto the black beans, and god damn it! They take three hours! This seems to be a mistake I make a lot! My advice: read the recipe people!
The dried black beans are simmered for, yes, THREE hours, in a pan of water with garlic, thyme, bay, an onion and anise seeds (which I popped in my tea infuser so they wouldn’t get lost amongst the beans).
Thomasina suggests skirt steak for the burritos, and says how it’s a ‘favoured piece of meat in Mexico thanks to it’s rich flavour’. I couldn’t find skirt in the supermarket. I know I could have gone to the butcher’s, but I’m just keeping things real here, and I was in a rush. What I did manage to find though, was bavette steak, and a quick google search told me that this was pretty damn close. And it was cheap! £4.26 for a huge steak!
Marinated in a mix of olive oil, garlic, orange juice, and a sliced chile de arbol, I fried it for just three minutes on each side, in a smoking hot pan, before leaving to rest for a further five minutes.
Soft corn tortillas, bowls of grated cheddar, charred spring onions, cooked long grain rice, mashed avocado, the cooked black beans, salsa and the chipotles en adobo sauce. Yum.
Now to assemble.
If I hadn’t have got over excited and overfilled my tortilla, then I would have been able to wrap this into a perfect little burrito. Instead, I folded it up the best that I could, and applied to face. Delicious.
Each element worked perfectly together, and each brought a different texture to make it just a bit more exciting to eat. The steak: oh my. For such a cheap piece of steak, cooked in that way, it was BEAUTIFUL! I’ll be buying that again.
What was even better though, was taking a slice of steak, dipping it in the chipotles en adobo sauce, and then coating it in grated cheese. YUM. I’m salivating now, just thinking about it.