Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Mashed Potato and Black Bean Burritos

One of my favorite restaurants, Irazu-a Costa Rican restaurant in Wicker Park, has an interesting vegetarian taco flavor. Mashed potato. Ever since the first time I went there I have wanted to try these tacos because it was such a unique idea to me. I finally ordered them a couple of months ago, and was not disappointed at all. It is simply plain mashed potatoes inside a taquito style shell. Nothing super flavorful, but simple and satisfying.
This week I was shopping for sweet potatoes to make a dish that is a staple in our house-sweet potato and black bean burritos. All of the sweet potatoes at our produce market were really gross, and my mind immediately went to the mashed potato tacos from Irazu. "Why not sub in mashed potatoes for the sweet potato cubes?" I thought. And so, I left with a gigantic 8 pound bag of baking potatoes (it was on sale for $1.50 and I am sucker for a good bargain!). I knew I would have to add a lot more seasoning than I normally do with the sweet potatoes because, let's face it...baking potatoes are just kind of bleh on their own. My result was a creamy, delicious burrito that leaves you feeling pretty full and has a touch of comfort food as a result of the mashed potatoes. Perfect for a cold winter, or fall, night.

Mashed Potato and Black Bean Burritos

6 small baking potatoes
chili powder
garlic salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 large (28 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15 0z can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 C grated sharp cheddar cheese
8 burrito size tortillas

Peel and halve about 6 small baking potatoes. Place them in a large pot and fill with enough water to cover the potatoes. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer until potatoes are easily poked with a knife or fork. This should take about 10 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Use a hand mixer to blend mashed potatoes and butter. You want the potatoes to be significantly more dry than normal mashed potatoes because they are going to be mixed with a lot of other things. You don't want them to get too rich and over-power the dish. Add in some cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and garlic salt to taste. I do not have exact measurements for this, but do it according to the flavors you like. Add some, mix it up, taste, repeat. You want the potatoes to be pretty well seasoned to provide a good base for all of the other ingredients.
You also want to cook your black beans before adding them to the burritos. After they have been rinsed simply throw them in a pan and cook them until they are heated through.
Spray a baking dish with cooking spray. Lay a tortilla flat and spread a thin layer of mashed potatoes in the center. Top with a scoop of black beans, then a scoop of diced tomatoes, then some cheese. Roll of the tortilla and place it in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat this with the remaining ingredients. Put your burritos in the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
Take them out and allow them to cool for about 5 minutes.
This is an all-in-one meal, no need for any accompaniments, but if you want something else, stick with some good quality tortilla chips and some fresh salsa. This is a very heavy meal, so keep everything else simple.

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