I don’t get excited by chillis but I do love to wander through a foreign food store in search of something different from our usual supermarket offerings. On a visit to Casa Iberica in Fitzroy recently I was intrigued by a tin of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which I had never seen before. I also bought tinned black beans and dried garlic flakes because I rarely encounter them elsewhere.
To celebrate my first purchase of chipotle peppers I thought I should find out just what they are and turned to the trusty Wikipedia. To my surprise I found they were actually red jalapeno peppers that had been dried in a smoking chamber. It was less surprising to then discover that the word comes from Nahuatl for dried chilli. For those of you wondering about Nahuatl, it is a group of dialects and related languages of the Aztecs. Curious about the history, I turned to the Tabasco Historian who writes that they have been eaten in ancient Mexican civilizations since before the Aztecs.
It seemed only right and proper that I sample my new chipotle peppers in a Mexican dish and I had been eyeing off Wendy’s version of the Moosewood’s Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burritos that she posted recently. How would they be with chipotle? I couldn’t resist finding out.
Rather good, actually. Smoky and fiery hot. Even E (who is known as Mr Tabasco Fiasco in this house for his tendency to add Tabasco to almost every meal I serve) exclaimed at the heat. Fortunately I warned him to taste before he doused. It may have been made hotter by me adding more of the adobo sauce than I had intended because the jar I put the remains in was a little bit too small. Wikipedia gives them 3 out of 5 on the heat scale but they are much hotter than I am used to. However, I am sure there will be a lot more of them on my blog as I have a jarful to get through.
While I was feeling like the Curious Orange, I also did a little experiment with the cheese. When Wendy had posted her burritos, I wondered why she had grilled the cheese after cooking them rather than just cooking them with cheese on them. So I tried just baking the burritos with cheese. It didn’t crisp up as I had hoped. But if I had grilled it I am sure my ends of burritos would have charred (unlike Wendy’s very appetizing looking ones). I have decided that tortillas are just too delicate to be able to produce a nice crispy golden cheese topping and maybe next time I should try adding the cheese to the mixture.
Wendy served hers with tomato salsa but I wasn’t organized enough. Only as I was cooking them did I remember they needed some sort of sauce. I cooked up a quick makeshift tomato sauce out of tomato passata, pumpkin chutney, a pinch of salt, spring onions and garlic. It was very good. We also had broccoli and corn on the cob with them. The following night I lightly fried some vegies and added more of my passata which was lovely. There are lots of ways to eat these burritos and I highly recommend you try some. But if you do use chipotle peppers and feel about chillis as I do, go easy!
Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burrito
(adapted from Wendy’s version of The Moosewood Low Fat Cookbook)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 600g)
3 spring onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 chipotle pepper, finely chopped
1 tbsp adobo sauce
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
400g (15oz) tin of black beans, drained and rinsed
Handful of parsley
Juice of half a lemon
½ tsp salt
Grated cheddar cheese (optional)
Add the sweet potato to a pan of salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a medium sized saucepan. Fry spring onions and garlic over low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add cumin and coriander and cook for 1 minute.
Remove saucepan from the heat and add sweet potato, chilli, black beans, parsley, lemon juice and salt. Use a potato masher to roughly mash together. (Or use a blender to roughly chop.)
Pre-heat oven to 170 C and lightly grease a 23cm square baking dish (I used a cake tin because it was the best size in the kitchen).
Divide the sweet potato mixture between 4 tortillas. Spread mixture along the middle of each tortilla, roll up and place in baking dish with seam down so they fit snugly.
I sprinkled cheese and some sesame seeds on mine and baked uncovered for 30 minutes but Wendy covered hers with foil, baked for 30 minutes, then she sprinkled with cheese and placed under the grill til the cheese was bubbling and starting to brown.
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