In the kitchen with Il Mondo Vecchio's Mark DeNittis: Yucatan-style beef, chèvre, rice and black bean burritos
Il Mondo Vecchio salumi emperor Mark DeNittis, and the subject of last week's Chef and Tell interview, spends the majority of his time pimping dry-cured meats, but the chef has other passions, too, including four-wheeling and camp cooking. His cookbook, My Jeep Grille Adventures, which he released last year, is a compilation of "trail tested" recipes that he promises are a hell of a lot better than freeze-dried camp food.
One of his favorite recipes from the cookbook comes from the Yucatan. "The Yucatan is full of wonderful foods, and with an opportunity to trek 120 miles across the Mojave Desert in the confines of a jeep, spices from a recent trip to the Yucatan inspired me to create a Yucatan-style burrito that's a killer dish," says DeNittis. "It's easy to make at home in advance and cook up on the trail," he promises. Oh, and he swears that the burritos can be reheated on an engine block.
Yucatan Style Beef, Chevre, Rice and Black Bean Burritos
2 pounds stew meat, 3/4-1-inch thick (trimmings of rib bone meat works well, too)
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch of ground cloves
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon chile powder
1 teaspoon achiote (ground annatto seed)
1 bay leaf
1 pinch cinnamon
½ cup cilantro, chopped
Plain white rice, precooked and cooled
1 14-ounce can black beans, strained
8 ounces chèvre
1. In a heavy bottom pot, heat the oil over medium heat, add the beef cubes and sear them on all sides.
2. Add garlic through through cinnamon, and mix well.
3. Add just enough water to cover the meat and stir well, especially the caramelized
bottom bits and pieces on the bottom of the pan.
4. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer, simmering until most of the liquid is gone. (The beef should be tender; if not, add more water and repeat process until the beef is tender.)
5. With a slotted spoon, remove the beef from the pan and let cool.
6. Fill tortillas with equal parts beef, chèvre, beans, cilantro and rice and roll into a burrito.
7. Wrap burritos in heavy duty foil, and refrigerate or freeze until needed. When reheating in a lunchbox oven or on the engine block, make sure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.