26 February 2006

Lime Fajitas & Hot Burritos Chimmy Changas for PhillG.com Fan Club

The first annual meeting of the PhillG.com Appreciation Society took place last night . Not really, I just cooked dinner for a few friends who happen to read my website. The early topics of conversation seemed to centre around my desire to launch a Live PhillG.com section with my trusty web cam but my friends were pushing me towards launching a XXX section and giving me plenty of material for it (verbally you understand). Back to the subject at hand, the recipes.

The starter was a single chimmy changa, topped with cheese and pureed fresh salsa around the plate. This was the first time I've ever tried this and I have to say it came out pretty well. The only fault with the starter was the salsa which was shop bought and then pureed, in hindsight it would have been much better with Thai sweet chilli sauce (e.g. Blue Dragon). Quite a quick starter, assuming you are going to be having burritos later on. Take one flour tortilla and place about 50g (one heaped table spoon) of hot burrito mince (to prevent issues with reheating meat) and put it towards the bottom of the circle. Fold the final few centimetres of the tortilla over the mince, then bring the sides in and finish by rolling all the way to the top. While this looks nice and tight you should really try to skewer it with something like the top of a bamboo barbecue stick. I put the wraps in two at a time in a deep fat fryer at 180°C for at most two minutes. The tortilla goes a lovely golden colour and the edges turn a crispy brown. Drain on kitchen paper and then turn seal side up (having removed the skewer) and sprinkle with not too mild cheese. You can throw this under the grill or if you are obsessed with gadgets use your trusty blow torch. Just start the cheese bubbling and then serve with sweet chilli sauce drizzled around the plate.

The main course was a dual help-yourself Mexican feast of lime fajitas and spicy chilli burritos. First the fajitas were made with about 100g of chicken per person, cut into strips across the breast (at most you want them 6cm long). Quickly brown them and then add in all the juice and any flesh that falls out from two really ripe (dark green) limes. At the same time (or even before you can keep them hot in the oven) I dry fried three peppers (red, green and yellow – orange is not the right taste) with absolutely no oil (maybe one crack of pepper). In a good non-stick pan you can heat the peppers all then need until the skin almost blisters in little black circles. With that I chopped two large onions, one red and one yellow, into large strips. If you have trouble with the vapours either work very closely to a running tap and splash it under it every so often or get some one who wears contact lenses to do it (thanks Samantha) – they are immune! Fry then off until the look beautiful with just a tiny amount of freshly ground sea salt. As the chicken is a few minutes off ready, throw in whatever spices you want, something like pepper, paprika, chilli even nutmeg. It is far easier to use a packet mix from a supermarket but it here you can tweak it how you like. Serve with fresh salsa, half fat creme fraiche (far better than sour cream) and the vegetables in bowls. As for the flour tortilla, microwave them in the pack and keep them in there on the table, they stay far warmer and keep their moisture if you do.

Finally the all important burrito mix. I chose to serve this with grated cheese and shredded lettuce (in addition to the fajita accompaniments) and a crafty secret extra – crushed Doritos. I find real maize tortilla chips too hard but Walker's Doritos are light enough to be crush (by hand or in a pestle and mortar) and give an extra texture to the dish. So at last we reach the mince. Take 75g each (plus 50g each for the starter, so 500g for four people) of lean beef mince and brown off in a bit of oil. Add one decent sized red and green chilli, finely chopped including nearly all the seeds. You can add a little bit of seasoning and even a few splashes of hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco) and/or Worcestershire Sauce (e.g. Lea & Perin's). Finish cooking for about another 8 minutes and that's it! A nice, spicy and hot (for a big wuss like me) burrito mince. I served it for eating in the flour tortillas, the crispy taco shells look fun but create far too much mess and detract from the taste of the meat you've been slaving over a hot cooker to create.

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