Circle B Chicken Burritos

If there were an alcoholic beverage that tasted like burritos, The Husband would be dead in five hours.  No kidding.  He has many favorite foods among the things that I make for him, but there’s no doubt that in his world, the burrito reigns supreme.

And I rarely make them.  That last sentence isn’t really all that related to the first paragraph.  I’m not sure why I don’t make burritos that often, cuz I’m pretty darn good at it.  Maybe it’s because burritos are not pasta and I have not yet invented burrito pasta.  But I have promised The Husband, because he deserves this, that I will try and make him his favorite burritos more often

To that end, I recently put together a batch of these scrumptious burritos (they freeze beautifully) and thought I would share them with you.  Well, not exactly the burritos, but my method for making them.

We start out with the best pinto beans money can buy, which happens to be my homemade beans. Well, not exactly MY bean recipe (see below).  You can, of course, use your favorite refried beans from a can, but if you’re aiming for scrumptious, your beans better be dang good. 

We are also going to need some really tasty chicken thighs that have been simmered in our homemade Mexican seasoning blend and then shredded.  The other delicious ingredient we’re going to need here is some really good tomatillo salsa.  You can make your own, or use your favorite store-bought.

Now we just assemble…

Top a warm, soft flour tortilla with some of the beans, cheese, chicken and then tomatillo salsa,

Wrap them up by folding the sides over the filling and then rolling until the filling is all tucked into the tortilla.

Top with some more of the tomatillo salsa, cheese, sour cream, some sliced avocado (which I forgot in the photo) and a little chopped cilantro and you’re good to go.  Eat em now or freeze em for later, but if, like me, you have burrito people in your life, this is gonna make em ever so happy.  Here’s the recipe…


Click here for a printable recipe

These are some super scrumptious chicken burritos.  I have mostly provided you with a list of ingredients for you to assemble as you might prefer.  If you start with the tastiest ingredients, you will end up with some incredibly good burritos.  So I encourage you to start by making your own beans and your own Mexican seasoning blend in which to cook the chicken.   The beans can be made several days ahead and refrigerated and reheated until you're ready to assemble the burritos.

For the burritos you will need...

flour tortillas
beans (recipe follows)
shredded chicken (recipe follows)
grated cheese (I used a combination of jack and cheddar)
tomatillo salsa (store-bought or homemade - see recipe below) or green chile sauce
chopped cilantro
sour cream
sliced avocado

To assemble the burritos, heat a flour tortilla in the microwave for about 11 seconds, or until soft and just warmed.  Place on your work surface and spoon some beans down the middle.  Top the beans with some of the grated cheese and then some shredded chicken and 2 or 3 tablespoons of the tomatillo salsa.  Fold the sides of the flour tortilla over the filling and then roll the tortilla up from the ends, completely enclosing the filling.  Place on a large platter and cover with foil while you make the rest of the burritos.  Top each burrito with some tomatillo salsa and grated cheese.  Warm the burritos in the oven until the cheese melts.  Top with chopped cilantro, sour cream and sliced avocado.

Mexican Pinto Beans

This is a recipe I got from Cousin Katie whose neighbor saw her eating beans from a can and promptly took her inside and showed her how to make real Mexican pinto beans.  I will forever be grateful to this neighbor and Cousin Katie, because these are the exact beans I've been looking for all my life.  If you, like me, prefer not to use lard, you can substitute shortening and create the same silky, lovely texture in the beans.  I use Earth Balance shortening, but you could use Spectrum or even Crisco, if you like, but do not leave it out.  There are no beans without it!

1 lb. dried pinto beans
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons lard or shortening (see head note)

Wash the beans and then cover them with water by a couple of inches and let them begin boiling. Once they begin boiling, add the salt.   Partially cover and let them simmer for four hours or so, adding additional water, if necessary.  You can tell when the beans are thoroughly cooked when you blow on them and the skin peels.

Once they are done, add the lard or shortening.  Mash to desired consistency and taste for salt (I used another ½ teaspoon).  Let them simmer another few minutes and then let sit a few minutes before serving.

For the Chicken

1 pound of chicken thighs will make about 6 burritos

Sprinkle the chicken liberally with the Mexican spice blend and place in a large saute pan in which you have heated 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat.  Let the chicken cook on the first side for about 6 minutes and then turn the thighs, cover, and let cook over medium-low heat for another 7 or 8 minutes.  Remove the heat and let sit for about 5 or 6 minutes.  Shred the chicken using 2 forks (you can do this right in the pan) and set aside.

Mexican Seasoning Blend

1 ½  Tablespoons of chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
½ teaspoon cayenne powder

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.  I usually double or triple the recipe to keep it on hand.

Tomatillo Salsa

Adapted from Rick Bayless

Makes 1 ½ cups

  • 4 medium (about 8 ounces total) tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved

  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1 poblano chile, or if you like heat, 2 serranos or 1 jalapeño, stemmed and roughly chopped

  • About 1/3 cup (loosely packed) roughly chopped cilantro

  • ½ small white onion, finely chopped

  • Salt

Set a large (10-inch) non-stick skillet over medium-high heat (if a non-stick skillet is unavailable, lay in a piece of foil). Lay in the garlic and tomatillos (cut side down). When the tomatillos are well browned, 3 or 4 minutes, turn everything over and brown the other side. (The tomatillos should be completely soft.)

Scrape the tomatillos and garlic into a blender or food processor, and let cool to room temperature, about 3 minutes. Add the chile, cilantro and ¼ cup water. Blend to a coarse puree. Pour into a salsa dish and thin with a little additional water if necessary to give the salsa an easily spoonable consistency.

Scoop the chopped onion into a strainer and rinse under cold water. Stir into the salsa. Taste and season with salt, usually about ½ teaspoon.  

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