This burrito recipe comes from one of my all time favorite hole-in-the-wall joints, El Toro Partido, in Hamilton Heights. Down the hill from where I work at City College, this bustling Mexican outpost dishes out sumptuous and authentic plates that are as gorgeous as the decor is not. Probably my favorite dish on the menu (aside from the spicily divine green sauce and corny tortilla chips) is the chicken burrito. I know, I know – you’re saying right now what could be so glamorous about this burrito? For me, above all of the other perfectly seasoned toppings, is the inclusion of savory shreds of oaxaca cheese. Almost like a Mexican mozzarella, oaxaca is nutty and stretchy and delicious – kind of the same consistency of Polly-O string cheese, but high brow. If you’ve not tried it before, you definitely need to get on some.
The rest of the ingredients are super straightforward – it’s the mixing of them en masse that makes this more than a boring burrito.
1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tbs. of olive oil
1 tsp. of garlic powder
1/2 tsp. of onion powder
1/2 tsp. of paprika
1/4 tsp. of black pepper
1/2 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of cumin
pinch of ground annato (optional)
1 c. of long grain rice
1 (8 oz.) can of Mexican tomato sauce (Goya, kind cooked with cilantro and onions)
1 1/2 c. of chicken stock
1/8 tsp. of ground annato (optional)
1 c. of cilantro leaves
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tbs. of olive oil
1 tbs. of white vinegar
1/4 c. of water
Pico de Gallo
2 plum tomatoes
3 tbs. of chopped onion
3 tbs of cilantro, chopped
mexican crema (optional)
1 can of black beans
1 tbs. of adobo
1 cup of Spanish rice
1 c. of shredded oaxaca cheese (optional)
Toss chicken thighs in olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, black pepper, salt, cumin and annato. Place in the fridge and let hang out while you prep the other ingredients.
Soak rice for 5 minutes and drain. Add stock, tomato sauce, annato and rice to pot and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and then recover. Let sit for an additional 10 minutes. Refluff and set aside.
Toss the jalapeno, cilantro, avocado, salt, olive oil, vinegar and water into the food processor or blender. Mix until smooth and then pour into a dish. Keep in fridge until you are ready to assemble your burrito.
Dice your tomatoes, onions and cilantro and toss. Pour pico de gallo into a small bowl and place in the fridge.
In a small saucepan, warm black beans with the tablespoon of adobo. Keep warm while you cook your chicken.
Heat a grill, grill pan, or skillet until smoking. Cook chicken until charred on the outside and juices run clear when pierced with a knife. Let rest on a cutting board for a few minutes and then dice.
Warm a large tortilla in a dry skillet until slightly browned on the bottom and pliable, about 10-15 seconds. Place the tortilla on a large plate and fill with chicken, guacamole sauce, rice, black beans, pico de gallo, shreds of oaxaca cheese and crema. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla to the middle, and then roll the bottom to the top. Slice in half and serve with drizzled crema on top.
- Mexican cream (or crema) is richer than traditional American sour cream and is notable for its tangy flavor. It’s similar to creme fraiche flavored with salt and lime zest. You can find it in Latin markets and specialty stores. Use it wherever you’d use sour cream.
- Oaxaca cheese is a stringy, mozzarella-like cheese that can be found in the International or Latin dairy case at many stores. You can substitute Polly-O for the same texture, or jack cheese if you just want to play it simple.