Baked Burrito Madness


Aaaaaand we’re back.

Here’s a dish that was born out of what I had in the freezer and fridge and pantry while enjoying a drink and definitely not wanting to go to the grocery store to buy anything else.

That’s called “true inspiration”.

With chicken bits and tomato sauce and the usual plethora of awesome dried spices in the pantry, this was an easy one. Good to do on a weekend when you’ve got time to stew things properly.  The chicken really needs a good long bath in those awesome flavours to really mellow out and get tender. It’s the least you can do.

Chicken burritos

2 lbs chicken thighs and/or legs, skin on, bone in, cheap as chips

good pinch salt and pepper

2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

two cloves garlic, finely chopped

28 oz can tomato sauce

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon ground cumin

Hefty pinch of dried oregano

1 cup water or chicken stock

2 tablespoons brown sugar

hot sauce to taste

6 flour tortillas

Half a red onion, sliced and quick-pickled (see note)

1/2 cup of your favourite salsa

1 cup smoked cheddar or cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Heat a heavy fry pan (cast iron is ideal) over medium-high heat for several minutes.  Meanwhile season the chicken with salt and pepper all over. Add vegetable or olive oil to the pan, then layer in the chicken in a single layer (you’ll likely have to do this in two batches). Fry the chicken until brown on both sides, then remove to a baking pan that’s big enough to hold all the chicken in a single layer. Heat your oven to 350 F at this point. Once all chicken is browned and removed, add the finely chopped onion to the pan and sauce for a minute. Add the garlic and saute for another thirty seconds. Add the tomato sauce to the pan along with the chili powder, cumin, oregano, brown sugar and hot sauce. Bring to a boil and let boil for a minute or so. Add a cup of water or chicken stock to thin it and pour that over the chicken in the pan. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes until the chicken meat is just about falling off the bone. During this baking process, you can make a simple pickled red onion by soaking finely sliced onion in a mix of 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, two tablespoons of sugar and a good pinch of salt for 30 minutes, then drain well.  Remove the foil from the chicken and bake another 15 minutes uncovered. Remove the chicken from the sauce and shred all of the meat off the bones with a fork. Mix the salsa with the shredded chicken meat.  Heat a large fry pan over medium-high heat (that cast iron pan again is ideal). Toast each of the flour tortillas until lightly browned and softened. Fill each tortilla with 1/6th of the chicken meat. Top with a bit of pickled red pepper and grated smoked cheddar or regular cheddar. Roll it up while tucking in the sides and place in a greased baking pan. Assemble the rest of the burritos this way. Top with the reserved sauce used to cook the chicken, any leftover pickled red onion and the mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes at 350F. You didn’t turn your oven off, did you? Goof.


New pan on the way…



Good way to start the new year – just ordered a new pan.

Came across this very interesting hand-crafted piece o’ work today.

I’m a huge fan of forged iron pans as readers may have gathered in the past and I’m eager to expand my repertoire.  This one is interesting because of its texture, which I’m betting will slap some real sexy grill marks on a New York strip or a filet of Charlotte County Atlantic Salmon.

We’ll see. I just ordered one and it should be on my stovetop next week.  Click here for the company’s web site.



Visual Recipe: Tomato Sauce


Tomatoes are at their best right now and one of the ways I enjoy them most is in making tomato sauce. It’s a good way to enjoy the flavour and a great way to drive lots of tomatoes into your face.

When you buy your tomatoes, DON’T put them in the refrigerator. Leave them out on the counter so they continue to ripen and develop more flavour. They’re also real pretty.

For my tomato sauce, the process is pretty simple and the only special gear you’ll need is a food mill.  A food mill with a fine grate will separate the skins and seeds from the pulp, making for a super smooth tomato sauce.  It’s old school gear and still very useful, as I’ve mentioned on this site before.

The only extra tip I have for making tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes is that using a bit of canned tomato paste will really help to make the sauce smooth and thick, without having to reduce your sauce so much that it kills some of that fresh flavour. Season well and delicately flavour the sauce with your Italian herbs of choice and enjoy.

My Tomato Sauce


Heat a large stainless steel pot over medium heat for a few minutes and add two tablespoons of good olive oil.  Coarsely chop two garlic cloves and half a small onion and add that to the hot oil.  After a minute or two, begin coring and chopping tomatoes and add them to the pot. I added around 8 large tomatoes in this batch.  Add a bit of salt and pepper and put a lid on the pot. When it comes to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.


Run the sauce through your food mill into a bowl then return to the pot.  Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and bring back to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook for perhaps another 15 minutes, uncovered, to reduce to a saucy consistency.  Season with herbs of your choice (fresh chopped basil is a good start, maybe some oregano).

One nice, classic way to use the sauce is with pasta of course.  Boil some spaghetti in salted water until al dente, drain and return to the pot. Ladle in some tomato sauce (not too much, just enough to coat!) and let it simmer and soak up the sauce. Serve with more fresh herb and grated Romano or parmesan cheese.



Just eyeball it. Measuring kills kittens.