As mentioned before, we love spicy food. And once one's palate becomes accustomed to to the slow, growing burning of the taste of hot peppers, it becomes a never-ending quest of trying to recapture that sensation one experiences when taking the first bite, where the lines between pleasure and pain are blurred, and which acts as a fierce reminder of being very much alive. But with taste buds developing more tolerance with each sprinkle of chili seeds, each drop of hot sauce, it leaves one craving for more.
Which brings me to this recipe. We use chili flakes in the marinade, in addition to fresh serrano or jalapeno peppers which are cooked until they've just begun to soften but still retain their crunchiness and much of their spice. They are added to the meat and wrapped snugly inside a giant burrito wrap. Sour cream is recommended. Eat at your own risk, as the burritos will be quite spicy. For a gentle palate, follow the asterisks to a milder or a non-spicy option.
We've omitted rice entirely from this recipe as we find that tortilla wraps provide sufficient amount of starch. Use corn tortillas for a gluten-free option, or replace flour tortillas with whole-grain tortillas for a healthier option. We love these burritos with refried beans, sour cream, fresh salsa and guacamole.
Note on the peppers: Poblano pepper has a mild heat (among the mildest of all the hot peppers). Serrano chiles are hotter than jalapenos (about twice as hot according to the Scoville scale), so use one or the other depending on the level of hotness you want. Both serranos and jalapenos vary in their spiciness. You may get a batch that adds plenty of flavor to your dish accompanied by a mild heat, or you may get a batch that burns your tongue. When cutting fresh jalapeno or serrano peppers, I recommend using latex gloves; if you do get a hot batch, your fingers will burn for hours if they are not used to the heat of the peppers.
Spicy Steak Burritos
For burritos you will need:
1 to 1 1/2 lb steak, such as flank or London Broil, cut into thin strips
1 Poblano pepper, cored and julienned*
1 red bell pepper, cored and julienned
2 serrano chiles or jalapenos, cored and julienned*
1 tbsp canola oil
4 burrito wraps
For steak marinade you will need:
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dry oregano (or 1/2 tsp fresh)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry chili pepper flakes (optional)*
*These ingredients are optional; use them only if you prefer a "hot" option as the dish will be quite spicy. For a medium option, omit serranos or jalapenos and simply use poblano and red bell peppers, using chili pepper flakes at your discretion in the marinade. For a mild option, omit serranos or jalapenos and the poblano pepper, substitute with sweet bell peppers in different colors (green, red, and yellow); omit the chili pepper flakes from the marinade.
1. Place steak strips into a medium bowl. In a measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, canola oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and chili flakes (if using). Pour over the steak strips and mix well. Let marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
2. Heat canola oil on medium-high heat in a large pan. With tongs, cook the steak strips in small batches, flipping constantly until no longer pink, 3-4 minutes per batch. Remove the meat from pan and place into a bowl, retaining the juices in the pan . In the meat juices, sauté the peppers until you can break one down with a wooden spatula, but before they turn soft, about 5-6 minutes.
3. Serving suggestion: Place the steak and peppers on a burrito wrap, add refried beans and sour cream as additional toppings, wrap and serve. You can also try our guacamole and fresh tomato salsa recipes as toppings or tasty sides.