Leftover Makeover: Pulled Pork and Bean Burritos

IMG_0416I love burritos. They are an easy, quick, totally satisfying weeknight meal that you can fill with so many different ingredients; you can even eat them for breakfast or lunch. It’s all in the filling. If you cooked the latest Weekend Dinner Project, you have some splendid burrito filling just waiting for you to make it happen.

Necessary Materials:

leftover pulled pork
leftover pinto beans
leftover braising broth from cooking pork
flour tortillas (we like 8-inch, use the size you like)
salt and pepper
toppings/garnishes: shredded lettuce, chopped cilantro, jalapeno pepper, sour cream or lime crema, mashed avocado or guacamole

IMG_0404Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until it’s shimmering, then add in the leftover pulled pork, spreading it out in a single layer. You want as much surface area of the pork in contact with the hot pan as possible, to add some browning and crisp up the edges of the meat. Stir a couple times, and cook until the meat has warmed, some has browned, and it’s softened a bit.

IMG_0406Next, the leftover pinto beans are added to the pan, stirred together with the meat, and just warmed through. Add about 1 cup of the leftover broth to the pan and stir and scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Using a potato masher, mash up some of the beans in the pan; don’t worry about trying to mash them all, it’s not what you want, but you want to achieve some creaminess. Add in another cup of the leftover broth, stir to combine, and simmer until the filling is thickened.

IMG_0407Taste the filling, of course, to check the salt and pepper levels, and adjust, as needed. Let the filling cool slightly before trying to fill your burritos. While you’re waiting, warm your flour tortillas between two damp paper towels in the microwave for 30 seconds or so; they’ll be easier to roll.

IMG_0410Prepare your toppings/garnishes too. On my cutting board I have grated monterey jack cheese, shredded lettuce, thinly sliced jalapeno pepper, chopped cilantro, and lime crema made with sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest. Sometimes I make lime crema with creme fraiche, but sour cream is often easier to find in the grocery store. It’s not in the photo, but I also mashed up an avocado with some salt and pepper for another topping.

IMG_0412I start with cheese, so the hot filling will have a chance to melt it. Oh, and please…

DO NOT OVERFILL YOUR BURRITOS. You will not be able to roll them shut. Less is more, really.

IMG_0413That’s pretty much maximum capacity for this tortilla. Those giant, loaded, spectacular burritos you get at some restaurants are made with giant, spectacular tortillas. These are not giant, they are about 8 inches in diameter.

Did you know you cannot roll up a burrito and take a photo of yourself doing it at the same time? If you can, you’re either more talented, or better equipped than I am. But rolling a burrito is not that hard if you don’t overfill. Simply bring the bottom half of the tortilla over the filling to cover it, fold both sides in to seal up the ends, and roll the whole thing over the top half of the tortilla. Roll it tightly so it stays closed. You can also fold the sides in first, then bring the bottom half up and over the whole thing, and roll over the top half of the tortilla. It was harder to read this description than it is to actually roll up a burrito. You can do this.

You should have plenty of filling to fill 8-10 burritos, and you can even fill them ahead of time, wrap them in foil and store in the refrigerator, to heat up later in the oven. They don’t microwave well; the filling won’t be hot before the tortilla has gotten kind of soggy and rubbery. If you want to get fancy, you can put the unwrapped burritos on a parchment paper-covered cookie sheet, top them with grated cheese, and bake them in the oven at 350 deg. F, until the cheese has melted and browned.

Burritos are a great weeknight meal option; if you cook a pound of dried beans every weekend, and keep flour tortillas on hand, you’re more than halfway there. You don’t even need meat. Some cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, salsa, and there’s dinner. Roasted or grilled vegetables are great in a burrito, as are scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheese. Do yourself a favor and get burritos into your weeknight dinner rotation.

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