Persian Burritos

You guys know I love to make twists on the burrito from all over the world. There are even some good versions in Stuffed! The key to making this work is not just slapping a bunch of exotic ingredients into a tortilla, you really have to take the time to replace all of the burrito staples like rice, beans, meat, and salsa. This week I made an incredibly tasty Persian take on the burrito. For the rice, I used a sour cherry rice complete with the crispy bits Persian rice is famous for. In place of beans, I used lentils. The meat was a classic marinaded chicken, salsa was a Persian tomato-cucumber salad, and for sour cream, I made a yogurt sauce.
The chicken marinade. Let it sit for a few hours if you can. The lentils had some onion, turmeric, clove, and a pinch of curry powder. I absolutely love sour cherry rice with that browned edge known as tahdig. I have tried a few different traditional ways to make this rice, but haven't had much luck. I finally mastered it by just doing it my own way. Basically, I boil the rice until it is almost cooked, then just brown it up in a frying pan. Here you can see the first layer pressed down and a few cherries added. Next I added the rest of the rice and cherries on top. Once it's done, you can just flip it out onto your serving dish. I actually flipped this too early, and was able to flip it back into the pan to cook more. Grill up the chicken. Then build the burrito! Rice and lentil first... Then chicken, salsa, and yogurt. Just like a regular burrito! Ohhhh yea. This thing is GOOD. I love these flavors and I am lucky to have a Persian place down the street where I get takeout from time to time, but if they served it burrito style I think I would be there every day!
 

Persian Burritos

For:  5 Burritos
  • Chicken
  • 2 Pounds Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • 1 Onion Grated
  • 3 Cloves Garlic Grated
  • 1 Teaspoon Sumac
  • 1 Teaspoon Aleppo Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Thyme
  • 3/4 Cup Yogurt
  • Salt
  • Lentils
  • 1 Cup Lentils
  • 1/2 Onion Diced
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Curry Powder
  • Pinch Clove
  • Salt
  • Rice
  • Rice
  • Dried Cherries
  • Vinegar
  • Saffron
  • Butter
  • Salsa
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • Yogurt
  • Mint
  • Onion
  • Sumac
  • Aleppo Pepper
  • Also
  • Tortillas!

Instructions

  1. For the chicken, Mix onion, garlic, sumac, aleppo pepper, saffron, and thyme. Stir in yogurt, and a nice couple pinches of salt, and mix in chicken thighs. Let marinate for a few hours before grilling.
  2. For the lentils, soak a cup of lentils in water for an hour. drain and rince. Cook half an onion diced well in some oil to soften, about 8 minutes. Add in the lentils with a tablespoon of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder, and a few cloves. Salt well and add a few cups of water to cover the lentils. Cook 20 minutes, adding more water if it becomes dried out. Taste for tenderness and continue to cook until tender.
  3. For the rice, boil the rice like pasta first until about 90% cooked, with just a little bit of bite left to it. Meanwhile soak dried cherries in a splash of vinegar, some water, and a pinch of saffron. Drain the rice. In a frying pan, melt a few tablespoons of butter. Press a layer of rice down onto the pan, then add half of the cherries. Add in the rest of the rice and top with more cherries. Cook on medium-high to brown the bottom of the rice nicely. When the rice is almost done, sprinkle the remaining cherry soaking liquid over the top of the rice. Flip out the rice onto a serving dish or large cutting board.
  4. The salsa was just tomato, cucumber, parsley, aleppo pepper, and garlic.
  5. The yogurt sauce was yogurt, onion, dried mint, and sumac