As I’ve mentioned, I’m often asked what I think people should stock in a pantry. I almost always answer the question with a question, and ask them what sorts of foods they really like. Because for me, at least, that’s what characterizes a pantry dinner: one that is either so simple, or so familiar, or both, that you can practically prepare it with your eyes closed. And because it’s been a long day, or week, the happiness factor is immense.
I love a good burrito. I’ll put practically anything in one; it’s one of my favorite
ways to use leftovers. Sorry; I keep forgetting that we now “repurpose” everything from barn wood to Sunday’s soup. I cleaned out a cupboard the other evening. Call me Type-A, but seriously, it was so badly in need of straightening that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep if I didn’t just stop and do it. Among the treasures I discovered were 2, count them, 2 cans of lychees (in heavy syrup) and the tag ends of more bags of rice than I’m willing to admit. Two caught my eye: jasmine and a gorgeous Mountain Red Blend that also has tiny lentils and some black quinoa in it. Together I think they’ll be lovely, and will make enough for tonight’s burrito as well as enough to freeze for another, uh, purpose.
Now, when you think burrito, jasmine rice might not be what leaps immediately to mind. But remember, we’re repurposing here, so some rules simply don’t apply. I have a few ziplock bags of frozen black bean chili so I got one out and set it to thaw in a bowl of cold water. In the refrigerator pantry, I always have tortillas, usually whole grain, as well as some kind of cheese. I made avocado salsa last evening to try with another recipe I’m developing, so I’m set. Those lychees will have to wait a while longer.
2 cups water
1 cup rice, your favorite
1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
Leftover meat, such as chicken, turkey, steak, chili
Grated cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper Jack
Salsa, your favorite; recipe appears below for Avocado Salsa
1 large flour tortilla
Additional optional garnishes: diced red onion, chopped cilantro, chopped scallions, pickled jalapeños, diced avocado, sour cream – use your imagination
- Cook the rice. Bring water and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add the rice, cover the pot, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until rice is done, 20-25 minutes; brown rice will take longer.
- Warm your filling.
- Prepare garnishes.
- Just before serving, warm tortilla shell in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
- Spread tortilla with some rice, probably a half cup, and whatever filling you are using. Here I’m adding some warmed Black Bean Chili. Top with cheese. Fold the flap nearest you over the filling, then fold in the two ends, and finally roll the burrito over onto the remaining flap. Carefully lift onto a plate and finish garnishing. Cut burrito in half through the middle, and sit down to a lovely dinner.
Makes about 2 cups of salsa
- 2 roma tomatoes, 1/2” dice
- 1 large avocado or 2 small, 1/2” dice
- 1/2 red onion, 1/4” dice
- Handful of cilantro leaves and stems, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, minced
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- Sea or kosher salt and grinds of pepper, to taste
- Your favorite hot sauce to taste (the son got me hooked on Cholula)
- Combine all ingredients except salt, pepper and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Toss with a fork to blend.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.