Here's what the inside of my current favorite burrito looks like:
It may look like they have equal weighting, but one of the components in particular is the real star of this burrito. Wanna guess which one?
If you picked #4 you were right. The sauce is always the key right?
And in this case, a homemade Tomato-Chipotle sauce.
Warm roasted tomatoes combine with rich, smokey chipotles to give this salsa real pep. Which in turn makes this burrito peppericious.
It's also easy to put together. And it gets even easier once you have the taste of the final product forever stamped in your memory banks.
I'll put step-by-step instructions in the recipe box below, and talk briefly here about the individual components.
#1 Seasoned Chicken Breast
First up is the chicken. It comes with one big disclaimer: the seasoning doesn't matter too much in this dish. Not when there's a homemade Tomato-Chipotle sauce stealing the flavor limelight.
I season a boneless chicken breast with salt, pepper, and some dried New Mexican chile powder, but even salt and pepper is adequate here so don't get caught up in chasing down chile powder.
This is sauteed off with a small handful of white onion in a generous dollop of oil.
Second component is cheese. I used Monterey Jack cheese, but Mozzarella and Cotija work just as well if not better.
I've started cutting cheese into chunks so that you get globs of melted cheese inside the burrito. I think you taste it more this way when compared to traditional shredding.
#3 Simple Arroz Rojo
Third component is a Simple Arroz Rojo (described in detail here). Basically, a few simple ingredients are blended together:
And then cooked with rice, stock, and salt. Very easy and delicioso.
#4 Tomato-Chipotle Salsa
Fourth component is the aforementioned Tomato-Chipotle sauce, which relies on some chipotles in adobo sauce:
Roasting the tomatoes is the key to making this salsa shine. I use the oven at 400F. In 20 minutes or so they'll look like this:
These are pulse blended with the onion, garlic, and chipotles in adobo. The result is a warm, rich, smokey salsa that deserves every bit of the starring role it has here.
Note: if it's not delish out of the blender then a quick simmer can bring this Salsa to life if you are dealing with out of season tomatoes. Simply add a glug of oil to a skillet over medium heat and simmer the Salsa for 5-10 minutes.
#5 Basic Guacamole
And finally, there is a Basic Guacamole:
Ripe avocados, finely chopped onion, lime juice, and salt are all you need for an authentic Guac.
All Rolled Into One
All five of these components combine effortlessly inside a flour tortilla.
After rolling tight, each side is cooked for a couple minutes on medium heat. Tips on rolling burritos.
And you're left with a crisp, piping hot burrito capable of putting all your local taco shacks out of business.
I'm always amazed how unassuming it looks on the outside when it's all rolled up. And then one bite later you're hooked for life.
OK, more detailed instructions below. Ask away if you have any questions.
And one last thing....since the sauce is the star here you've got plenty of leeway with the protein source. So if you don't like chicken you can always swap it out and you're still going to get all the benefits of a burrito drenched in warm Tomato-Chipotle sauce.
Anatomy of My Current Favorite Burrito
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 white onions
- 2 chipotles in adobo
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 avocado
- 1 lime
- 1 chicken breast
- 1 cup white rice
- 2 cups stock (chicken or veggie)
- 3 flour tortillas
- Monterey Jack cheese
- seasoning (for chicken)
- Rinse and de-stem the tomatoes (4). Three of these will be used for the Tomato Chipotle Salsa, and one will be used for the Arroz Rojo. Add the tomatoes to the oven and roast at 400F.
- Peel and chop 2 onions in half. Peel 3 garlic cloves.
- Chop a chicken breast into bite-sized chunks. Add the chicken to a bowl along with a dollop of oil, salt, pepper, and seasoning for the chicken (I used chili powder). Stir chicken until coated with the seasoning.
- For the rice, add a dollop of oil and 1 cup rice to a saucepan on medium heat. Stir and cook until rice starts to turn opaque and brown (a few minutes).
- Meanwhile, add 1/2 white onion, 1 garlic clove, and 1 tomato (from the oven) to a blender. Pulse blend until smooth. You can add a few tablespoons of the stock if it won't blend at first. Add blender mixture to the rice and saute for a couple minutes until heated thoroughly. Add 2 cups of stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the rice. Stir well. Bring to a light boil and then reduce heat to a low simmer. This will be fully cooked in another 15-20 minutes when all the liquid is absorbed.
- Prepare the chipotles in adobo for the salsa by cutting off the stems and scraping out the seeds and veins.
- For the salsa, add the 3 remaining tomatoes from the oven to the blender along with 1/2 white onion, 2 garlic cloves, and only one of the chipotles in adobo. Pulse blend and taste for heat level. If you want the salsa spicier you can add another half or whole chipotle in adobo. Pulse blend. Add to a bowl and set aside.
- To cook the chicken, add a dollop of oil to a skillet on medium heat. Add a small handful of diced onion and saute for a couple minutes. Add the chicken and form a single layer. We'll let this cook until it is mostly cooked through on this first side, approx 5-8 minutes.
- Meanwhile, we'll build the Basic Guacamole while the chicken is cooking. Finely dice 2-3 tablespoons of white onion. Crush the onion with the back of a fork until it becomes transparent. Add onion to a bowl along with the juice of a 1/2 lime, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the flesh of a single avocado. Mix well and taste for salt and lime levels. Add salt and lime juice until it tastes good to you.
- Chicken is now cooked through on one side, flip and continue to cook for another couple minutes and then add it to a serving bowl.
- Check the rice. If all the liquid is absorbed, turn off the heat and cover until ready to serve.
- Roughly chop 1/2 cup of Monterey Jack cheese.
- Heat a larger skillet on medium heat (to warm up the tortillas and cook the burritos). Your burrito building station will have the chicken, rice, guac, salsa and cheese close at hand.
- Heat up a tortilla for a few seconds on the skillet. This will make it easier to roll. Add generous portions of chicken, rice, guac, cheese, and plenty of Tomato-Chipotle salsa. Roll tight. Cook each side of the burrito for a couple minutes or until it turns golden brown.
- Serve immediately.
Here's a similar version to the above recipe: Chicken Burritos with Avocado Salsa Verde.