08 September 2010

7 Layer Burritos

This is pretty sad, but there have been times in my life- usually 2 to 3 month increments- in which I have survived primarily on Taco Bell. Yep, it's disgusting, but being a jobless teenager with very little time to cook and a whole slew of friends with equal amounts of time and money meant that cheap fast food was the only way to go. I'd like to believe taco bell is better than most fast food restaurants in that little of their fare is fried in grease and there are dozens of vegetarian and even vegan things to order, but lets be honest. It's still fast food. Sure, it's freakishly cheap, requires no energy, and is ready in minutes, but it's hardly satisfying or even yummy.

Pretty much the only things I ever order at taco bell are cheese quesadillas and 7 layer burritos. The seven layer is actually a brilliant idea and for a long time I thought I had found the best thing TB has to offer. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's still true because anything they serve there that has meat in it (which is most things) usually tastes like feet. As you can imagine, the seven layer burrito has seven layers, which makes it the most complex burrito that they offer. The layers are beans, rice, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese. Sounds awesome, right? Well it's not terrible, but unfortunately Taco Bell has managed to invent beans that have absolutely no flavor and just taste like dry pastey nothing in your mouth. Also unfortunately, I have a sneaking suspicion that their "guacamole" has nothing to do with avocados and is actually made with some sort of mix plus sour cream. And I don't like sour cream. But finally, the real kicker is that TB's seven layer burritos never, NEVER come in seven actual layers. The beans and rice are always jammed at one end and the sour cream and guacamole are at the other. It's so sad to order one with the hope it will be different and then unwrap it to find that yes, it's hot on one end and cold on the other. *sigh*

Well, I was fed up with these injustices. I'd been thinking about making my own seven layer for a while, but never got around to it until now. Finally I would have jurisdiction over how my guacamole was made and how my beans tasted. Most importantly, I'd be able to layer the thing myself to make sure I got a taste of everything in every bite. Take that, taco bell.

As I thought about making these I decided I wanted to spruce them up a bit from their original fast food version. To me, plain old tomatoes are not an equal layer to beans or guacamole. Pico de gallo, however, that I could do. Furthermore, TB's seven layers always required three or four packets of hot sauce to give them any flavor- which pretty much made it and 8 layer burrito. I wanted to stick to seven layers and I didn't have any hot sauce, so I decided I'd have to make it spicy in my own way. SO. These are the layers I came up with:

Vegetarian refried beans
spanish rice
sour cream
cheddar cheese
spicy guacamole
pico de gallo

all wrapped up in a big tortilla. I went for it and damn, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat another taco bell seven layer ever again. How could they mess up something so simple and delicious? Please, try this. It's AMAZING.

I used the recipe below when cooking for two and had a ton of leftovers, which leads me to believe it's perfect for four.

Seven Layer Burritos
1 small can of refried beans (you can also make your owns by smashing up cooked pinto or black beans while you cook them with oil)
1 cup uncooked rice
1/2 cup salsa
4 avocados
1 large tomato
1 large yellow onion
1bunch cilantro
1 jalapeno
1 lime
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped
2 cloves garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
4 large tortillas
salt and pepper to taste

1. Begin by cooking the rice. Place 1 cup rice and 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan and cook, covered, until all water has been absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, begin the guacamole. Remove the flesh from the avocados into a small bowl.

3. Chop the onion and jalapeno and finely mince the cilantro. If using garlic, mince.

4. Mix half the onion, half the cilantro, all the jalapeno, and the garlic or garlic powder in with the avocados. Stir and mash to reach desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.
5. Sqeeze the juice from half the lime into the guacamole and stir. Let chill in the fridge until ready to use.

6. Begin the pico de gallo. Dice the tomato.

7. Combine the remaining onion and cilantro with the tomato in a small bowl. Squeeze the juice of the second half of the lime into the mixture and stir. Chill in the fridge.

8. When the rice has finished cooking, heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a frying pan. Once hot, transfer the rice to the pan.
9. Cook for one minute and then add salsa. Stir to incorporate. Let cook for five-ten minutes.

10. Meanwhile, heat the refried beans in a saucepan.
11. Chop lettuce and grate cheese.

12. When everything is finished, begin wrapping. Place a tortilla on a place. I layered like so: Beans, rice, guacamole, sour cream, pico de gallo, lettuce, cheese. Tuck in either end and then roll from the center, forming a burrito.

13. eaaat. and never accept fast food burritos again.

The only parts of this recipe that actually take some work are the guacamole and pico de gallo. everything else basically just needs to be heated or shredded or chopped really quick. That's why I think this is a really simple recipe that is a lot better than most burritos I've ever had. I wonder what I'll order at taco bell now? oh, well. Not a huge price to pay :)


1 comment:

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