Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Savory Offerings

Many years ago I cooked for a small, nonprofit restaurant. The antique school building where it operated had been converted into a community center that primarily served the surrounding low-income, largely Hispanic neighborhood. Each morning, I shared the massive basement kitchen with Caroline, who cooked meals for the building's nonprofit childcare center.

One morning, as Caroline and I chatted over cut vegetables and freshly baked desserts, the building's quiet, elderly janitor, Eduardo, shyly presented us with still-warm, foil-wrapped burritos from his own kitchen. Every morsel of the handmade tortilla filled with savory shredded pork and small roasted potato chunks melted in my mouth. It was the first of many offerings from Eduardo, each one delivered quietly, and accepted with our heartfelt 'gracias.'

After this season's first cold spell, several days ago, I remembered Eduardo's food and decided to re-create the flavors. Here's my version of:

Eduardo's Burritos
makes 4-5 burritos

one large potato, skin on, cut in bite-size pieces
2 tablespoons butter
one small onion, sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 pound Mexican ground chorizo*

4-5, 6-inch flour tortillas

Melt butter over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and onion slices and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 20-25 minutes until onions are translucent and potatoes are well-browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

Remove chorizo from plastic casing and cook on low for approximately 15 minutes, until meat turns dark red. Set aside.

Warm one tortilla at a time in a dry frying pan over medium heat, 2 minutes on each side, until pliable. Wrap warmed tortillas in a tea towel until ready to use. Lie one tortilla flat on a plate, cover with 1/3 cup potato mixture and then 1/4 cup chorizo. Fold base of tortilla inwards and then roll tortilla tightly over mixture. Enjoy!

Variations: Use shredded pork or eggs instead of chorizo. You also may add stewed/drained tomatoes.

*Chorizo is now available in many grocery stores as well as in Mexican markets

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