Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Roast Chicken and Black Bean Baleada

(Apologies for the blog neglect.)

Early in June I made my long awaited return vacation to Roatan, Honduras.  It had been three years (two full summers!) since I had been on my beloved island.  This trip was extra special because I got to share it with my dad and Louis.  Damn, 4+ years of marriage and this was our first real vacation together!  I was so nervous he wouldn't be as infatuated with it as I am.  By the fourth day though, he was using the phrase, "The next time we come..."  My heart nearly flew out of my chest!

In all the years we've been staying in West Bay, we had never tried Celeste's.  It is literally just up the ally from the hotel we stay at, a 2 minute walk, but it just never happened.  This year I was determined to go and eat a lobster baleada.  Baleadas are sort of a free form burrito with a thick, fluffy flour tortilla.  Traditionally, they are filled with refried red beans, scrambled eggs, and cheese, some times with ham, chicken, etc.  They are probably the most iconic dish of Honduras, and some restaurants are elevating the humble food with fresher and more gourmet ingredients more suitable for lunch or dinner.

That lobster baleada was incredible.  Fresh lobster and homemade tortilla.  I'm not sure how to sell that better.

I don't have access to such tortillas here in Tennessee, and at the moment I don't have time to experiment with making my own.  So regular tortillas have to substitute.  You can make a good baleada with store bought tortillas at home, but it won't be the same, so clearly, you just have to go to Honduras at some point.

Roast Chicken & Black Bean Baleada
1/2 C diced onion
1/2 C diced green bell pepper
1/2 C diced (fresh) tomato
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
~1 1/4 C shredded, roast chicken
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp chopped cliantro
4 large flour tortillas
1 Tbsp salted butter
1 C shredded monterey jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste

In a little oil over medium heat, saute onion and bell pepper for 5-7 minutes, until tender.  Add tomato, chicken, garlic, black beans, and cumin.  Cook for ~5 minutes, just to heat through, really.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Toss in cilantro just before filling and serving.

Melt butter with a little oil over medium heat on a griddle or large skillet.  Griddle tortillas for about 2 minutes, until they get some color and just barely start to crisp around the edges.  Fill each tortilla with 1/4 of the filling, top with cheese, fold over, and serve.

Serves 4.  Top with sour cream (or crema), cilantro, and hot sauce, if you like.

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