October 27, 2016

It’s easy to see why burritos are among the most popular items in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. With a large tortilla wrapped around loads of delicious ingredients, they offer plenty of taste in an easily portable package. It’s especially important for students attending an Austin culinary arts school to master a few variations on this classic, but any chef can get great results by exploring different ingredients and techniques. Here are some ideas to get you started on crafting exceptional burritos:

1. The classic Mission burrito
The Mission burrito rose to prominence in 1960s San Francisco, as Bon Appetit recounted. It’s distinguished from traditional Mexican burritos by its large size and numerous ingredients, rather than a simple combination of meat or fish and one or two toppings. San Francisco-style burritos are packed with elements like extra rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole and iceberg lettuce, along with a selection of chopped or shredded meat.

One reason for the continuing popularity of this style of burrito is that it’s endlessly customizable. Every chef can put his or her stamp on this classic, trying out different ways of preparing the meat or mixing up the ingredients.

2. Start the day right
Breakfast burritos are a brunch staple, providing culinary enthusiasts with a filling start to a weekend morning. The Kitchn offered directions, pointing out there’s plenty of room to adapt this favorite to individual tastes with additions like bacon or sausage. Begin by cooking a batch of rice while roasting peppers and onions with olive oil and salt.

After whisking some eggs, cook them over a low heat. Rinse and heat black beans. Warm up the tortillas, melting cheese on top. Finally, bring all the elements together, topping with salsa and tightly wrapping the burrito.

Chefs can customize burritos with a wide variety of fillings.Chefs can customize burritos with a wide variety of fillings.

3. Go meatless
A burrito doesn’t have to involve meat to be delicious. Try a recipe like the one suggested by Serious Eats, which features sauteed mushrooms, cheddar and tomato rice. To make the tomato rice, simply cook rice in a mixture of tomato sauce and butter instead of using either water or stock.

4. Unwrap the flavors
When you assemble delicious, fresh ingredients, the tortilla is optional. Damn Delicious recommended preparing a burrito bowl with rice, corn, lettuce, black beans, Roma tomatoes, cilantro and avocado. The dish is topped with salsa and a chipotle cream sauce made from sour cream, chipotle paste, garlic, lime and salt.

Students in culinary academy can apply their skills to creating a wide range of burritos. With inspiration from tradition and a little creativity, there’s no end to the satisfying possibilities.

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