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Sunday 26 December 2021

Christmas Dinner Burritos

One thing my girlfriend and I have tried to do each year is make Christmas Dinner a little different. I've yet to complete a post about Christmas 2016's festive Salmon En Croute with Mixed Veg, which we prepared for my folks when we stayed with them for a couple of nights over the festive season, and last year's turkey burgers were a bit of a disaster because I'd foolishly assumed that a burger should be 100% meat, regardless of the type of meat.

This year, we didn't need much discussion to decide on our alternative Christmas meal style. I'd been considering burritos for some time before Courtney even brought up the subject of making Christmas dinner plans, so that was my first suggestion... and she agreed straight away. I then started researching options for Christmas-appropriate rice as part of the filling, while Courtney looked into seasonal 'slaw recipes. She opted to use What The Cluck? from The Vegetarian Butcher, while I picked up a couple of packs of Bernard Matthews turkey chunks. In place of a salsa, we both agreed that a dollop of cranberry sauce would be reasonably appropriate, and so the plans were in place.

For the rice, I came up with a shortlist of three existing recipes from around the internet:

After due consideration, the Festive Rice option was selected, but was prepared in a pan, on the hob, rather than by baking, the 1/4 cup of butter and the mint were both entirely omitted, while the Feta was added to the burrito rather than incorporated into the rice mix. Courtney's 'slaw was a mix of red cabbage and red onion (both sliced quite thinly) with pomegranate seeds, as well as lime and orange juice, seasoned with a little salt and pepper. She'd intended to also add some chopped Brussels sprouts - which she'd bought especially - but it slipped her mind at the time.

Now, since we all know that turkey tends to be a bit on the bland side, and mixing up some gravy for the purposes of a burrito seemed rather pointless and wasteful, I figured I'd heat it up in a pan after coating it with Peri-Peri Salt. This involved just dumping a bit of sunflower oil into a small frying pan and then chucking the coated turkey chunks in once it was heated up and stirring them about till they started to brown in places. I somewhat underestimated how much oil I'd need, which led to small pieces of turkey adhering to the pan, but it worked well enough aside from that.

Assembling the burrito was a simple case of serving out a portion of rice onto a tortilla (warmed for 10 seconds in the microwave to ensure they were flexible enough for filling and rolling), crumbling over some Feta, scooping over some cranberry sauce, then adding some of the slaw. Courtney further embellished her burrito with some jalapeños and coriander, but neither are particularly agreeable to me, so I just had to make do with the basic ingredients. As a finishing touch, the burritos were returned to the pan for a bit of browning, and to help seal the seam.

The end result turned out really well - we're both fans of burritos, but have previously tended to rely on supermarket-bought sets for making them, and we tend to omit staples like the rice, focusing instead on the seasoned meat (or meat substitute), packed-in salsa, some sour cream and, at most, a home-made guacamole. Having a somewhat seasonal rice recipe, further spiced up by the Peri-Peri Salt, then sweetened by the fresh pomegranate, it was a comparatively light and sweet burrito, but filling nevertheless. This was also probably the first time we - or I, at least - have tried to properly roll our burritos rather than turn them into makeshift tubular pockets. I had to look up a couple of YouTube videos for the technique, and still got a bit confused, to be honest.

All in all, this is one of the most successful 'alternative Christmas' ideas we've had so far, yet it's still ripe for exploration into alternatives. I'm particularly keen to try the Puerto Rican Rice option - I felt that was probably the best fit for a burrito, albeit at the risk of overpowering everything else, but that was a risk I was willing to take with Bernard Matthews turkey chunks - and, having thought about it a little more, I'm wondering if mixing up a little gravy for the turkey wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.

We have sufficient leftovers of the rice and slaw for a decent dinner tonight, as well... I'm considering some Boxing Day 'sushi' using some sliced salmon I picked up a few days back, along with some Christmas spiced streaky bacon acquired in Iceland... Hopefully will be adding a few photos of that in the next few days.

I'll leave you with a Binging With Babish-inspired cross-section, with apologies for the quality of the photo, as it was taken quite hurriedly, on my phone: