Saturday, January 10, 2015

Kitchen Intuition: Easy burrito buffet

One evening years ago, I needed to fix a dinner for some visitors who were coming to town. I was going to have people arriving in waves throughout the evening, and since I didn’t know how hungry anyone was going to be, I needed food that I could just put out so that everyone could help themselves if they were hungry. Some sort of low-maintenance buffet was in order. I took some inspiration from Chattanooga’s great Mojo Burrito (this was long before Chipotle took the world by storm) and created my own burrito/taco bar at home. It was a huge hit and has returned many times since, because it works so well in so many situations.
This is an awesome meal for a lot of reasons. It can please anyone and everyone, including adventurous, spice-loving, carnivorous, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, young or picky eaters. Much of the prep can be done ahead of time, there are some shortcuts that might serve in a pinch (like using canned beans instead of dried), and it is fully scalable (feed two or 20 people). Not only is it a great way to use up leftovers (shred that leftover chicken and put it in a taco!), but it also makes great leftovers (cook it for dinner and have several days of lunches covered). Keep a few things ready in the pantry and freezer, and this could be a great thing to pull together on a snow day. Kids love to get to build their own creations.

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