Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Jolokia Chorizo Burritos

Lemme talk to you a'bhut jolokias.

One of the hottest (yet tastiest!) peppers in the world, the naga bhut jolokia (ghost pepper) will satisfy not only your need for incendiary yet flavorful spice, but will also keep pesty pachyderms away from your property. We are lucky to have a purveyor of fantastic peppers, Chile Spot, in the area and in years past have bought single jolokias from them to mince up for vats of fiery stews, chili, etc. This past spring, we decided to take matters into our own (carefully gloved) hands and spring for a jolokia seedling from Chile Spot. We thought we'd be fortunate if it yielded, oh, one or two. Well, now in late August I can say with authority that the jolokia plant is one hell of a prolific little bugger, and we're pulling peppers off the plant at a rate of a couple per week(!). You can only make so much spicy chili, so I thought I'd take a cue from our favorite Mexican joint in Kennett Square, La Pena, and make some super-spicy burritos. Although we usually spring for spicy cabeza burritos at La Pena, I went with a delicious chorizo recipe I adapted loosely from a member's post on Chowhound a while back ('Antilope', I believe). I'm going to repeat it many times, but if you purchase a jolokia for this recipe's purposes or any other, pleasepleaseplease wear gloves and be careful. This is a pepper meant for weaponization. One minced up in this recipe provides a pleasantly scorching kick, but it's not to be dealt with casually. 

Jolokia Chorizo Burritos
Makes 3 burritos

*1 1/4 lb ground pork
*Scant 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
*2 tablespoons chili powder
*1 teaspoon smoked paprika
*1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon garlic powder
*1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
*1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
*1 fresh jolokia pepper, seeded and minced FINELY. Wear gloves. No exceptions.
*Healthy pinch of ground cloves
*Dash of pepper
*Neutral oil
*3 12-inch flour tortillas
*A handful of chopped cilantro
*1/2 red onion, diced
*Hot sauce or salsa roja (optional)

Combine chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder, coriander, oregano, minced jolokia, cloves and black pepper in a bowl, and then pour in the vinegar and stir until everything has come together. Add the ground meat and mix throughly. Pop the mixture in a container and store for a couple hours in the fridge to let the flavors mingle. When ready to start cooking, add a slick of oil (or melt some lard) in a cast iron skillet over medium and when hot, fry the meat mixture until cooked, 8-10 minutes.  

To form burritos, briefly heat the tortillas between two lighly damp paper towels in the microwave. Mix about a cup and a half of chorizo with a tablespoon or two of cilantro and a tablespoon of diced red onion, as well as a touch of hot sauce or salsa roja, and drop the mix in the middle of a tortilla. Fold the sides over, then tightly fold and roll up from the bottom. This is the traditionally Mexican way to stuff a burrito, but if you'd rather add refried beans or cheese or what-have-you, go for it and adjust the amount of meat accordingly.
Wrap a bit of foil around the bottom of the behemoth to keep spillage at a minimum. Enjoy the burn.

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