Chihuahua Desert Pemex Burritos

I was ten years old and had already eaten my way up and down the country ten times before I encountered my first bona fide Mexican burrito. A burrito in Mexico seemed as out of place as a plate of frog’s legs.

“Dad,” I exclaimed. “They have burritos!”

Steve chuckled. “Burritos in Mexico. You’ve got to be kidding me!”

Detecting some sarcasm, I narrowed my eyes at him.

We were sitting in a diner attached to a Pemex station on some windy stretch of Chihuahua highway. While we waited for our burritos, Steve explained that burritos are a specialty food in the state of Chihuahua, and because we spent most of our time further south it didn’t surprise him that I’d never eaten a real Mexican burrito. Then our burritos arrived, and he stopped talking. I still remember these divine torpedos: not what they were filled with, but the shape (long and narrow) and the texture of the snow-white flour tortilla (perfectly soft). A child’s dream food.

Fast forward twenty-three years to our house in Oregon, where I find the following greasy bit of paper crammed into my dad’s old metal recipe box:

burrito recipe

Last night I attempted the recipe, with delectable results. I didn’t have quite the right tortilla to roll the long narrow burrito I remember so fondly, but the results were tasty anyway: the spicy and succulent filling dribbling from the buttery casing; the first bite as soft as a pillow stuffed with chicken. I served the burritos with cauliflower sauteed in a sauce of yellow tomatoes, chicken broth, and toasted cumin, as well as a coleslaw drenched in a feta parsley yoghurt dressing that I found in, of all places, Martha Stewart Living. (Let us not dwell on that last parcel of information.) Naturally, my camera ran out of batteries right as I was attempting to take a picture. The shot below is the best I’d managed. Martha would not be pleased by the quality, but you get the gist.



10 Responses to “Chihuahua Desert Pemex Burritos”

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  1. Maybemayhem says:

    More scrumptious I’m sure, than anything Martha Stewart makes. I’m inspired to take my decrepit motorcycle on a road trip south in search of food that is worthy of being resurrected, years later, on a chili stained scrap of paper. Hop on the back and come with me! – Spaz

  2. Hola Churpa,

    Your discovery of Steve’s burrito recipe stimulated both my appetite and my memory. Somewhere upstairs, in my many boxes of notes on northern Mexico, are the locations of my favorite roadside burrito stands. Among the very best is a row of burrito stands at an otherwise lonely highway intersection between Ciudad Cuauhtemoc and San Juanito… or is it on the way to Baseaseachic? I can’t quite remember but I’ll definitely never forget the delicious barbacoa burritos dripping salsa all over my shirt. Closer to the Pacific, one of my burrito pilgrimmage spots is a gas station at the turn-off to San Carlos Bay. You have to get there early in the morning, to buy “bucket burritos”, remarkable homemade delicacies sold by a man (or perhaps now by his children) who lives somewhere in the nearby desert.

    • churpa says:

      Hmmm…How can I bribe you to actually dig through this box? How about this…If you do it, I will finaly get around to digging up all Steve’s old slides that you have been coveting…

      • -El Codo- says:

        Surely there must be some kind of incentive I can send up, like a couple kilos of Guaymas tiger shrimp or some wild desert russian thistle honey, or…

  3. -El Codo- says:

    When on the road I sometimes overnight at a gasolinera. Many times a lady selling tamales or empanadas will wander over and shyly attempt to see if the gringo understands what she is trying to say. Few things in travel are as pleasant as unwrapping steaming hot tamales in place of searching out a restaurant. Not too long ago in Tepíc, I purchased from four wandering vendors, tamales, an elote, flan, and agua fresca de melón. Under “five dollars”.

    Pollo al carbón estilo sinaloaense is a real hazard for me when traveling through Sinaloa. I’ll be motoring along when an aroma of chicken roasting over glowing mesquite coals drifts into the window. My foot automatically jams on the brakes and I swerve onto the nearest pullout.

    I just finished a long distant shopping trip. Outside the Super ISSSTE Tienda was a señor and basket after basket of different tamales, empanadas, burritos (the real kind, the size of a fat habana puro), and four different dulces. I filled up a sack, and forgot about even street grunting that trip. One kind of empanada contained nopalitos, another, pitahaya. This stuff just beats the tar out of any restaurant fare.

  4. John Wm Logue says:

    Is that Steve’s writing on the tattered old paper?

    I have to say, I kind of like Martha Stewart now – she did the crime, then she did the time. I read somewhere that she really made the most of her time in that white-collar jail, did some kind of cooking lessons or something…

  5. Jason Martin says:

    Chihuhua’s burritos are one of the most amazing meals you can have in all Mexico, they tasted soo good, specially with a good sauce (salsa) that’s really spicy,

    I need to drive back and have another taste at those bad boys.