My job "interview"
  Re: (...)
Saw a local add for someone wanting a Mexican chef, so I called and the guy asked me to come in, see the place and chat. This was Friday.

It turns out, the guy was starting a completely new Mexican restaurant, has a ten-year lease on site and building and is really still just developing everything, so the job is not a position where they'd be trying me out as part of an established team. His concept, that would differentiate his place from others, was twofold: first, to use authentic recipes for authentic Mexican dishes and to offer delivery (i.e. as one would usually have for pizza or for Chinese food).

I told him that I am definitely not qualified to be his head chef to run the whole kitchen, take care of ordering and manage some cooks, but that I'd be happy to work as one of the cooks once he has a chef and the place gets going.

He was still interested, so he asked me to make a burrito for him and to take it to him on Sunday afternoon, so he could not only see how well I'd do it, but also how it would taste.

Well, believe it or not, with all the different things I have made from different countries and regions, I have never actually made a burrito before, so I did my usual research method for this kind of thing and searched websites in Mexico for an authentic recipe.

Many burritos in the States are Tex-Mex variations, so I went straight to recipes from Chihuahua (no, not the small dog - it's the name of a state in Mexico near the Texas border), since the original burritos were from Chihuahua - especially Juarez.

The particular recipe I chose had three options for the fillings. I chose the one with the shredded beef, but I have translated the entire recipe, below.

These burritos were DEE-licious and I'll definitely be making these again and again!

The guy starting the restaurant loved the burritos and really loved the Salsa de Molcajete I took along with them, so he told me I got the job!

That's not the end of the story, though, since this place is still just getting started. For that matter, I'm not even sure if or how the place will do, considering he still has to paint the place, install the new hood system (it's already there - just needs installing), etc. Thus, this is starting just about from the ground, up.

Also, another guy, who could become the head chef, apparently hasn't been responding to the owner's phone calls or text messages, even though he had seemed interested and had said he could cook and run everything, so not all of the personnel have been established, yet.

For that matter, it's even possible that the whole Mexican concept may change, since a guy we met, yesterday, who could be interested in being not only the chef, but an investing partner (i.e. by helping with some of the initial expenses mentioned earlier, such as the painting and hood installation), is actually Peruvian and used to have a Peruvian restaurant of his own in Wisconsin. Given all of that, the owner is even entertaining the idea of having a Peruvian place instead of a Mexican place. That would certainly differentiate this place from the Tex-Mex restaurants around!

Whatever direction he decides, I'm still in the picture, so it all seems good, so far, although that doesn't mean I'll stop looking or turn down a more-immediate job offer.

Either way, this "job-interview" recipe is, absolutely, one that I'll be making many times. As mentioned, this first time, the only filling I made was the shredded beef, but they all sound wonderful. For the record, I couldn't get chiles colorados or chiles chilacas, so I used the suggested substitutions of guajillos and poblanos.

Chihuahua-Style Burritos
Makes 10 - 15

  • 10 - 15 Large flour tortillas
For the refried beans:
  • 3 Cups cooked pinto beans
  • 1/2 Cup Bean-cooking liquid
  • 3 1/2 Oz. Lard
  • 1 Large Onion, cut into strips
  • 4 Chiles Colorados (or soaked guajillos), cut into rounds
  • Salt to taste
For the chile-colorado filling:
  • 5 1/3 Oz. Lard or 1/2 Cup Corn oil
  • 2 1/4 Lb. Pork leg meat ("fresh ham"), cut into small dice
  • 1 Large potato, cut into small dice
  • 4 Chiles Colorados (or soaked guajillos), cut into rounds and fried in oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
For the pork-rind and salsa verde filling:
  • 6 Jalapeños (or to taste), roasted, deveined and chopped
  • 20 Tomatillos, peeled
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 3 Tbsp. Lard
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Sprig Epazote (optional)
  • 9 Oz. Pork rinds, cut into medium chunks
For the shredded-beef filling:
  • 1 1/3 Lb. Top or Bottom round of beef
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • Water, as needed
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. Corn oil
  • 4 Large Tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 Chiles Chilacas (or poblanos), roasted, peeled, deveined and cut into strips
  • Salt to taste
  1. Heat the tortillas.
  2. Spread refried beans onto the tortillas.
  3. Add the desired filling.
  4. Roll.
For the refried beans:
  1. Mash the beans with their cooking liquid.
  2. Separately, sauté the onions in the lard until dark golden.
  3. Transfer the onions from the lard to the beans.
  4. Add the chiles to the lard.
  5. Fry for 2 seconds.
  6. Transfer the chiles from the lard to the beans.
  7. Purée the bean mixture, but not too smooth.
  8. Return the mixture to the pot.
  9. Add salt to taste.
  10. Cook to blend the seasoning well.
For the chile-colorado filling:
  1. Lightly brown the meat.
  2. Add the potatoes.
  3. Fry a few minutes more.
  4. Add the chiles colorados, garlic, salt and chicken stock.
  5. Cook until the potatoes are done and the seasoning is well blended.
For the For the pork-rind and salsa verde filling:
  1. Cook the chiles, tomatillos and salt in the water until soft.
  2. Allow to cool slightly.
  3. Purée the mixture.
  4. Separately, heat the lard.
  5. Cook the onions in the lard until translucent.
  6. Add the tomatillo mixture.
  7. Add the epazote, if desired.
  8. Cook until the seasoning is well blended.
  9. Add the pork rinds.
  10. Allow the pork rinds to pick up the flavours of the sauce.
For the shredded-beef filling:
  1. Put the beef, garlic, quartered onion and salt into a pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover.
  3. Cook until very tender.
  4. Allow to cool.
  5. Shred the beef.
  6. Fry the chopped onion in the oil until translucent.
  7. Add the chiles.
  8. Fry for 1 minute.
  9. Add the tomatoes.
  10. Cook until the tomatoes have stewed-down completely.
  11. Add the meat.
  12. Add salt, to taste.
  13. Cook until the seasoning is well blended.
One last thing: since, as mentioned, I had never made burritos before, that means I had never rolled them before, either. Thus, I did a quick search on YouTube and THIS was the method I chose and used. Even the very first one turned out perfectly.
If blueberry muffins have blueberries in them, what do vegan muffins have?
  Re: My job "interview" by labradors (Saw a local add for ...)
Well, keep us posted! This sounds like an interesting/evolving story! I would have no doubt that he would LOVE anything that you cooked for him.

If I were him, perhaps a fusion restaurant of Peruvian/Mexican?
"Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time."
  Re: Re: My job "interview" by luvnit (Well, keep us posted...)
How exciting! It seems a great fit for you! And the recipes sound wonderful!
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: My job "interview" by luvnit (Well, keep us posted...)
That is good news Labs! And your experienced at being exposed to different cuisines will be a huge plus!

I agree with Laura about doing a fusion type place - best of both worlds
  Re: Re: My job "interview" by DFen911 (That is good news La...)
Wow, doesn't this sound interesting and wonderful for you!! Will certainly be trying the burritos.
Retired and having fun writing cookbooks, tasting wine and sharing recipes with all my friends.
  Re: My job "interview" by labradors (Saw a local add for ...)
Doesn't this sound like fun! Good luck! We are starting to see more variations on "Mexican" here - more of a turn toward Central American dishes. We have Salvadoran, Venezuelan, etc. Pupusarias are gaining popularity. There are so many different flavor profiles that I have to agree that a "fusion" restaurant would be interesting.
You only live once . . . but if you do it right once should be enough!
  Re: Re: My job "interview" by Harborwitch (Doesn't this sound l...)
So happy for you, Labs. Sounds like a perfect fit for you. Hope you love it. Can't wait to hear what direction the restaurant takes with this. What fun to be in on the ground level during development!

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently..."
  Re: Re: My job "interview" by Mare749 (So happy for you, La...)
Labs, thanks for the recipe. There was a restaurant in Oroville that made fantastic chile colorado burritos. It was shredded beef in a wonderful sauce, no beans. I am not an American Mexican food fan as a rule (loved the food I had in Sinaloa and Mazatlan) but would go out of my way for that burrito. I have a nice recipe for flour tortillas, so I will be trying your filling. Thanks and good luck with the job.

PS, Peruvian sounds nicer than another Mexican wanna be.
  Re: Re: My job "interview" by Cubangirl (Labs, thanks for the...)
Alina, not to steal Lab's thunder, but have you tried the Chile Colorado Burritos that many of us have made? It's a crockpot recipe. It's a wonderful recipe and very easy.

But I will be trying Lab's recipe, also. I've just got a lot going on this week. So the Chile Colorado recipe will have to do for my craving this week.
Keep your mind wide open.
  Re: Re: My job "interview" by Gourmet_Mom (Alina, not to steal ...)
What an interesting opportunity for you! How large a restaurant are you talking about? And what would hold you back from heading up the kitchen? Time commitment?

From my standpoint, you would bring a lot to the table experience-wise, you know line, you know the food, ordering isn't rocket science. I would think it would be an incredible challenge for you (realize this is coming from somebody who didn't know the difference between a tee and a green but bought a golf course). But as you would know, a head chef isn't a 9-5 job that you walk away from at the end of the day. Plus, I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling that this fellow has a firm vision of where he is going. THAT would concern me because you can't develop or implement a menu when he doesn't have a firm business plan.

Keeping our fingers crossed that everything works out in your best interest. I am sure you would be a great asset to any restaurant.

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