I can recall years ago dining at the Beer Stein in Jackson, Michigan. For the low price — even in those days — of only $5.00, you could get a huge wet burrito filled will shredded beef and cheese. It was totally amazing and you really couldn't beat the price. I always managed to get two or three meals out of it.
It's my understanding that the Beer Stein now stands empty and that makes me feel sad because some of the best times I've had in my life are associated with friends and food.
I had mentioned these wet burritos many times to my hubby and he didn't have a clue as to what I meant by a "wet burrito." Since movies are created in California, a great deal of the trends in style and clothing come from California, we tend to think of California as being a trend setting place. I guess I always assumed that would carry over into food as well.
Not so. I'm always amazed that my husband and our California native friends have not heard of so many wonderful foods I grew up eating in Michigan. California might be technologically years ahead of places like Michigan but they certainly don't have the market cornered as far as food is concerned.
Not being able to find a wet burrito here in my adopted state, I finally decided to make my own version of the wet burrito. While I could use shredded beef, pork or chicken in the recipe, I have decided to use hamburger meat because my husband and son prefer it. Doesn't matter, you can use whatever meat you desire, with wonderful results.
The best thing about a recipe like this one is that it can be adapted to different tastes very easily. For example I like mine with just meat and cheese, so I add a little more cheese to mine. My son prefers beans with his meat and cheese, topped with lots of taco sauce. The man of the house likes the works, so I add everything but the kitchen sinks to his.
I can cook them all in the same pan, I just have to remember which one belongs to whom. It's really pretty simple.
Naked Wet Burrito w/ Refried Beans
Spray a 9"x11" baking dish with cooking spray or coat pan with shortening (I prefer Pam). The first time I tried spooning some of the gravy mixture into the bottom of the pan, it dried out and stuck to the bottom really bad. Don't make the same mistake.
Brown ground beef in a medium size skillet, when done, add taco seasoning packet, cook per package instructions. Keep warm, do not over cook.
In a small sauce pan make two cups of brown gravy, add enchilada sauce, mix well. Simmer on low.
Cut iceberg lettuce into thin strips, using only a plastic knife; using a metal knife will cause the lettuce to turn brown. Set aside. (Or purchase pre-shredded lettuce if you are in a time crunch.)
Spread a generous portion of refried beans (straight from the can or warmed) onto the burrito size tortilla shell, top with a portion of beef taco mixture, handful of cheese and lettuce. (Individual tastes may vary, so portion sizes are not provided.) Fold bottom and top sections in, then roll into a rectangle. (You will want it flat on the top.)
Line pan with finished burritos, I normally fit six in the pan.
Once the burritos are situated in the pan, generously spoon gravy mixture over the top, add a handful of shredded cheese to the top of each.
Bake at 350° for approximately 25 minutes, until golden brown.
Serve with choice of desired toppings. [See Garnish list above.]
Serves a family of 3 or 4, depending on appetite.
Editor note: Pre-sliced black olives, pre-shredded lettuce and shredded cheeses are available at your local grocery store, if you don't care to lose a finger or prefer to do without the hassle, of course normally you'll pay a little more.
Updated December 14, 2008