Burritos, or what one might know as taco de harina (tacos made of wheat flour) are an interesting Spanish flour tortilla with a sumptuous savory filling. Interestingly the name of the dish seems to be vaguely associated with the donkey( which in Spanish is called burro) because of its appearance which is perceived by some as resembling the ears of the donkey, while others feel it resembles the stacks of material that the donkey carries on its back. The flour tortilla of burritos, softened by steaming or grilling, is traditionally filled with meat, rice or refried beans by the Mexicans, but the Americans have more varied stuffings like lettuce, cheese and sour cream which are used in combination with the traditional ingredients to make new varieties of fillings.
History of Burrito
The conceptualization of the burrito can be traced to the early twentieth century (1910- 1912) to Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. According to a popular story the burrito was accidentally invented by Juan Mendez, a taco vender, who carried food wrapped in tortillas to keep it warm. The idea became popular with people who ate his food and slowly the dish came to be known as burrito which can be interpreted as food brought by the donkey.
Popular Burrito Recipes
Though originally Mexican, burritos are an integral part of American cuisine and are fondly eaten in different parts of the country.
• Mexican Burritos- the original varieties are made of flour tortillas which are small and filled with simple fillings of meat, rice, potatoes, refried beans, asadero cheese or chilli rellenos amongst others. Barbacoa(sheep meat) and deshebrada ( flank steak preparation) are also used as fillings with mole sauce. Hot dog in tomato and chili sauce is a filling that is used in many Mexican burritos. A moderate to very spicy version of Chile Colorado, and a very hot version of salsa verde are also preferred for the deshebrada burritos. Burritos in Mexico, are a northern specialty and are believed to be a variation of the taco de Canasta which is a main dish item eaten as a staple for a three meal courses.
• American burritos- these are bigger in size, obviously designed to accommodate the more varied stuffings in comparison to the Mexican burrito. Pinto beans or black beans, rice seasoned with cilantro, salsas and sour cream are also used as fillings in addition to the other Mexican fillings. The wet burrito, a burrito doused in chili sauce and topped with shredded or melted cheese is an American creation and is also called Burrito suizo by the local Mexican restaurants to indicate the cheese or cream presence.
• San Diego burrito- this is unique to the San Diego area and typically consists of burritos made of grilled tortillas which are thin, blistered and flaky. The fillings are also uncomplicated consisting of a single ingredient with condiments. Carne asada meats, beans, fish, poloo asada, are often teamed with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo or salsa fresco. The burritos are assembled just before they are readied for consumption.
• Californian burrito- this made of flour tortillas, is considered one of the nutritious burritos. The fillings are mostly of carne asada meat and French fries are also served as condiments with the burritos. Avocado being an easily available ingredient, guacamole is a popular condiment of the burrito from this region.
• San Francisco burrito – this is made with steamed tortillas and apart from the fillings normally used for making burritos, roasted corn, red tomato, and green tomatillos are found to be used as ingredients for fillings.
• Tex Mex burrito- Chimichanga is a very popular fried burrito from this cuisine. It is a rectangular burrito consisting of beef or carne adobo meat or chicken along with other ingredients that are normally used as stuffing for burritos.