Then one day I peerred behind the curtain at a certain nation wide el cheap taco joint and noticed the lady making the burritos placing the tortilla in what appeared to be a toaster oven. I'd tried heating them in a pan, in the oven and even in a toaster oven. It was when she retrieved the tortilla that the light went on in my tiny brain. A puff of STEAM arose from the contraption when she opened the lid. Could it be that simple?
I couldn't wait to try it out. It turns out, THAT WAS IT!! My burritos now had that undefinable something. The texture is perfect and they hold together. Rather than just making them warm and wet, the steam actually changes the entire texture of the tortilla. What was dry and fragile is now moist, elastic and pliable. Rather than just wrapping around the fillings, it brings everything together into a cohesive entity. Yes, I know I sound like a raving lunatic, but try it yourself, you'll be amazed at the difference.
Now here's my version of the burritos from another national chain named after a smoked jalapeño.
Start with your meat. I'm using grilled chicken breast seasoned with cumin, garlic and chili powder, but anything will do. Pulled pork would be incredible.
Next is the cilantro lime rice. This is leftover from last nights dinner so not a very good pic. Just make a batch of plain white rice. Once it's done add salt to taste, chopped fresh cilantro and the juice of one lime. It's stupid simple, and really tasty.
Next you steam your tortilla. I just but a basket strainer in a pan with about an inch of simmering water. The strainer holds the tortilla above the water. Steam for about 45 seconds, flip over and another 30 seconds and it's ready to go. You can see in the pic on the plate how it's now translucent. The pattern on the plate shows through.
Now just pile on the toppings and wrap it all up. Here I used the chicken, rice, shredded smoked Gouda, guacamole and salsa.
I usually wrap them in parchment and put them in the steamer if I'm making a few. This keeps them hot and you can just put the tortilla right on top of them to steam. Plus it's kinda fun for everyone to unwrap their own.
So there you have it. Restaurant burritos at home.