Beef & Bean Wraps

Recipe contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Cindy Kennedy

Here’s a hearty Tex-Mex dish that you can make in a hurry or go all-out and feed a crowd. It has all the best in Mexican ingredients: pinto beans, salsa, and tortillas. For the “Tex” side, there’s beef and the chili sauce, or gravy. When you see this brown sauce on any plate, you know you’re north of the border and south of the Red River. It’s about as “authentic” Tex-Mex as you can get. Without it gracing an entree at a restaurant, food just isn’t the same.

This time, though, we’re blending the chili gravy into our mix. With the gravy recipe below, you’ll have the perfect topping for your next Tex-Mex meal. We’re also giving the cutlets an overnight marinade that includes soy and lime juice. The flavor blend is great for sauteing, grilling and broiling.

To make it all easy for a quick family meal, use canned beans and chickpeas, which are distinctively tasty additions. A jarred salsa is better than fresh. Store-bought tortillas work just fine, too. For a crowd, nuke tortillas in the microwave. If you’re cooking for just a few, crisping them up in a lightly oiled skillet is even better. I started with dried chickpeas and pintos, prepared the entire bags, and froze the remainder after they’d cooked.

Let’s start with the marinade for our meat. This recipe calls for seven thin cutlets – eye of round in this case. You can substitute as you wish and adjust the marinade accordingly.

Quick Beef Marinade

Adjust as needed to coat:
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lime juice

Place meat in a plastic baggie or bowl. Coat with dry ingredients, then add the wet. toss well and refrigerate for several hours.

Beef & Bean Wraps
Makes approximately 12-15 filled tortillas

3 green onions, sliced in rounds
1-2 jalapenos, diced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3/4-pound (approx.) eye of round, thin cut cutlets (marinated and cut into strips)
2 cups (or one 15.5 oz can) pinto beans, drained
1 cup (8 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas) drained
3/4 cup picante sauce
1/2 cup chili gravy (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
12-15 fajita size tortillas (7-inch diameter)
1-2 cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack blend for topping

–Heat olive oil in a skillet. Add green onions and jalapenos and saute until softened.
–Add beef slices and let the meat brown (may require a touch more olive oil)
–Transfer to a pre-heated larger pot and add the remaining ingredients. Let simmer until ready to serve.
–Warm the tortillas, fill them with the beef and bean mix, top with grated cheese, and fold closed. Serve with sides of choice.

Chili Sauce (Gravy)
Reduces to 1/2 cup

1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon corn oil
1 Tablespoon flour
1 Tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon red pepper (cayenne)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3/4 cups chicken broth

–Heat the corn oil (medium heat) and slowly blend in the flour to make a roux. Stir continuously until it browns. (Corn oil tends to burn faster than butter.)
–Add the dry ingredients and stir to blend.
–Warm the chicken broth and slowly add in as it continues to thicken.
–Keep at a simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Doubling the above chili sauce recipe will yield 1 cup. Add more broth or water to reduce thickness.


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