When I worked in London we didn’t have a lot of nice lunch places around the office. Most often that meant having just a ready meal or sandwich from a local supermarket or something from the office restaurant (which was always a, shall we say, interesting experience…). But sometimes when the weather was nice and I didn’t feel stressed I would walk over to Embankment and treat myself. Some days that meant getting a Katsu curry at Wasabi, other days it meant getting a fully loaded Mexican Burrito from Wrap It Up!. The burritos were so good – huge and filled with shredded beef or chicken, rice, black beans, salad, cheese, guacamole and sour cream. Freshly wrapped up in foil, with the cheese melting with every step, I’d carry it back to the office and tuck in.
Lately I’ve felt a bit been-there-done-that with many of the slow cooker recipes I’ve been looking at since pretty much all I’ve had this autumn and winter have been soups and stews. I also had a real craving for Mexican (or European Mexican shall we say) food, and being in London over the weekend made me remember the cheesy, spicy burritos I sometimes had for lunch. So I went looking for slow cooker beef burrito recipes online and came about this Mexican shredded beef recipe. Often the pulled pork/shredded beef/chili recipes require lots of different ingredients that I don’t have or can’t that easily get hold of – especially since they’re often American. This required some spices I didn’t have at home but that I knew I could get at my local supermarket, so I decided to give it a go.
I don’t think it’s very often when you try and remake something you’ve had when eating out that the result exceeds your expectations, but this time it really did. It was exactly what I was craving and it really did feel like I was eating one of those Wrap It Up! burritos. I first had it for lunch, reheated in the microwave, with guacamole and when I bit into that first bite with the melted cheese and the spicy beef I knew I had found something good.
I should warn you though that this recipe makes a lot of beef ! And I mean a lot. Especially when you add rice, sweetcorn and beans like I did. I used 4 portions of rice, 200g sweetcorn and 380g (one box) ready to serve black beans. This mix is very beef-heavy, so if you want a more equal mix between your beef and the rest I would probably recommend using the same amount of rice, sweetcorn and black beans, but halving the beef (or cooking all of it but using half for something else). Unless you’re cooking for an army, in which case feel free to double the rice, sweetcorn and beans.
I would also recommend actually letting the sauce reduce down for at least 10-15 minutes, as it says in the original recipe. I didn’t have time to do that since I was doing the last bits in the morning before going to work, so mine only simmered for about 5 minutes. This unfortunately meant that the flavour of the sauce wasn’t as intense and there was way too much of it since burritos can’t be too liquid – or the tortilla will just become sloppy. Apart from that the result really was fantastic.
Ingredients (many portions)
1.5 tbsp chipotle powder
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp All Spice
1 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
1.5kg beef brisket
5 garlic cloves
0.75 cup orange juice
2 tbsp lime juice
400g crushed tomatoes
500 ml beef stock
4 portions long grained rice
380g black beans (cooked/ready to serve)
guacamole and/or sour cream
The original recipe recommends cutting the meat up into three similar-sized pieces, but I chose to keep mine in one large piece, since I’ve learnt my slow cooker seems to make the meat drier than some others.
Combine all the spices for the spice mix in a bowl, then sprinkle a few teaspoons over the beef and pat it in.
Heat the oil in a pan and brown the meat on high heat. Remove the meat from the pan and add to the slow cooker.
Fry the garlic and onion on medium heat until soft.
Add the orange juice and lime juice to the pan, then add the remaining spice mix.
Pour the contents into the slow cooker together with the chopped tomatoes and beef stock. Your beef should be mostly covered, but if it’s not – add water until it is.
Cook on low for 6-10 hours – the bigger the piece(s) of meat the longer the cooking time.
Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Set aside.
Pour the sauce into a pot. Simmer on the hob until thickened enough for your liking (at least 10-15 minutes), then pour as much as you like over the beef (though not all!).
To make my burritos:
Measure out four portions of long grained rice and cook according to the instructions.
Drain the black beans and rinse thoroughly.
Mix the rice, sweetcorn and beans into the beef.
Put a good-sized dollop of burrito filling in the middle of a tortilla. Top with as much cheese as you feel like, then fold it and wrap it up in foil.
Serve with guacamole and/or sour cream.
This is one meal I’ve made that I won’t grow tired of having both for lunch and for dinner several days in a row.