~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~

~Wrapped and Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos~

IMG_2148A fajita-burrito has its origins in Mexico and features the best of two South-of-the border worlds -- all those luscious strips of well-seasoned grilled or sautéd chicken or steak, bell peppers and onions that go into fajitas wrapped-and-rolled burrito-style in a large, warm flour tortilla that's been slathered with refried beans and scattered with a layer of Spanish-style rice and shredded cheese.  The outcome is indeed the best of two worlds and, there's no need for embellishments either.  Hold the guacamole, sour cream and/or salsa.  Pick 'em up 'cause they're ready-to-eat.

No need for embellishments.  Pick 'em up -- they're ready to eat:

IMG_2161The "burrito", or: "the food from the little donkey"!

6a0120a8551282970b0240a4463726200cA bit about burritos:  A burrito is a portable sandwich found in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine.  It consists of a large flour tortilla that has been wrapped or folded to fully encase a filling. Before serving, it gets lightly-grilled or steamed, to soften the tortilla.  Refried beans, Mexican rice and meat (or a meat mixture) are typically the only fillings used, and, burritos are served unembellished, in order for them to be eaten with the hands.   In Spanish, "burrito" means "little donkey", coming from the word "burro", which means "donkey".  

During the Mexican Revolution (1910-1921), in the El Paso area, a street-food vendor named Juan Mendez sold tacos at his street stand.  Because of the war, for safety sake, it became necessary to continually pack up and move his stand/street-cart from place to place.  He began using his donkey to transport him and his food.  In order to keep the food warm as it traveled, Juan had the idea of wrapping it in large flour tortillas.  His food invention became so popular, consumers began traveling to him from other places around the Mexican border in search of:

The "fajita", or: "faja" & "ita", meaning "little strips"!

6a0120a8551282970b026bdedb2eca200cA bit about fajitas:  Originally named tacos-al-carbon, fajitas were served as portable food, ready-to-eat-with-the-hands, by wrapping strips of unpretentious skirt steak that had been cooked over a campfire or on a grill, in a warm corn or flour tortilla, meaning they were served taco-style.  "Faja" is the Spanish word for "strip, band, sash or belt", and, with "ita" added to the end, it means "a little strip, band, sash or belt", meaning the ingredients for fajitas are always cut into strips.

The dish dates back to cattle ranching life along the Rio Grande Valley regions of the Texas-Mexico border in the 1930's.  Throwaway items (heads, entrails and meat trimmings) were given to the Mexican vaqueros (cowboys) as part of their pay, resulting in some of the first Tex-Mex border dishes: barbacoa de cabeza (head barbecue), menudo (tripe stew), and fajitas/arracheras (grilled skirt steak).  Because of the limited number of skirts per animal, the meat wasn't available for sale, so, for years it remained obsure to all except the vaqueros, butchers and their families.

Burritos + fajitas = a crowd-pleasing Tex-Mex family-favorte!

IMG_2087For each burrito:

1, 9 1/2" round burrito-size flour tortilla

1/2  cup refried beans or refried bean dip

3/4  cup prepared Mexican-style adobo rice, my recipe or your favorite boxed Spanish-style rice mix

1/2-3/4 cup prepared chicken fajita filling, my recipe or your favorite recipe

1/4  cup shredded white cheddar cheese

IMG_2103 IMG_2103 IMG_2103 IMG_2103 IMG_2115 2 IMG_2115 2 IMG_2115 2~Step 1.  To assemble each fajita burrito, place one tortilla on a flat work surface.  Using a butter knife, spread the beans or bean dip to within 1/2" of the perimeter of the tortilla.  Scatter the Mexican rice atop the beans, and, using fingertips, gently pat rice into beans (this will keep the rice in place when wrapping and rolling the burritos).  Carefully spoon and mound the chicken-fajita filling (atop the rice) in a long strip across the center.  Place the cheese atop and along the strip of chicken-fajita filling.

IMG_2122 2 IMG_2122 2 IMG_2122 2 IMG_2122 2 IMG_2135 2~Step 2.  To wrap, roll and heat burritos, lift the side of the tortilla closest to you up and over the fajita filling -- far enough so it wraps all the way around the filling.  Pick up left and right sides of tortilla and fold them atop the filling.  Roll the tortilla over, seam side down, to fully encase and secure the filling in a tight roll.   Transfer each burrito to a plate, or, place all of the burritos on a platter.  Cover with plastic wrap.  Reheat in microwave 1-1 1/2 minutes.

When ready to eat heat one or all of them.  Serve for lunch, dinner or a very special late night snack attack:

IMG_2156Wrapped & Rolled Cheesy Chicken-Fajita Burritos:  Recipe yields enough ingredients to make 12 large burritos.

Special Equipment List:  butter knife, hand-held box grater, slotted spoon, plastic wrap 

6a0120a8551282970b0240a46f8c09200dCook's Note: Inform the family chili is simmering on the stovetop -- you won't have to call them twice to dinner.  Tell the family you're making chili-cheese burritos for dinner -- you won't have to call them at all.  They'll be sitting around the table waiting. Once assembled, if individually wrapped in plastic or foil, they're great to take to school or the office. They reheat perfectly in the microwave or in the oven, and for tailgate, I reheat the foil-wrapped packets on hot grill grids.  The chili-cheese burrito is how one gets to eat chili in a sandwich.  Try my recipe ~ That's a Wrap:  Big Beautiful Chili Cheese Burritos ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021)

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