What is a burrito exactly? Basically it’s anything rolled up in a flour tortilla. Anything.

One time a guy on a bicycle on Canyon Road in Santa Fe had a little hot box on the front of the bike and he was selling tabouli and tempeh whole-wheat burritos. So seriously, anything can go into a burrito, but if you want to keep it authentic Northern New Mexican, your burrito has to have a couple of things in it or it becomes something else.

Beans are the most common ingredient in burritos. Whether your beans are whole or are refried beans, you’re going to want to start with that in your layers of ingredients arranged on a large 12-inch flour tortilla.

If you eat meat, you’re going to want some of that in your burritos. The imagination goes wild. From pulled pork or beef to chicken or chicharrone, the meat in burritos is what gives it a righteous solidity that makes the burritos one of those hold-in-your-hand meals with all the food groups covered.

There is also the breakfast burrito, with potatoes, scrambled eggs, chile sauce and cheese. They come smothered in chile sauce or just roll it up so you can eat on the run.

If you’re a vegetarian, there is no limit to the combinations you can make, but realize once you wander far from typical fare, you’re really in veggie-wrap territory. Typical contents include avocados, corn relish, even cucumbers and sprouts can brighten up a normally heavy burrito.

The following recipe is a favorite combination that will put you on the path to experimenting with your burrito and what goes inside.

1 cup cooked beans, re-fried in butter
1 pound ground beef, browned with
salt, pepper and
1 Tablespoon red chile
shredded lettuce
1 tomato, chopped
½ cup sour cream
½ cup Table Salsa, Chile Colorado or Pico de Gallo (see page ??)
½ pound grated Colby or Monterey Jack cheese
6 12-inch flour tortillas, warmed

Arrange all your ingredients in bowls on your table or counter. Warm the tortillas and roll them, one at a time to ensure each person is getting a burritos that hasn’t had the opportunity to get soggy yet. The best order for un-soggy presentations is this: Beans, meat, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sauce of choice, then sour cream.

Learning the best way to roll a burrito is no small feat. The thing to keep in mind is even though more is usually better, it’s best to keep the layer small amounts and manageable unless your burritos is going to be smothered with chile sauce then you don’t have to worry about someone being able to eat it with one hand.

Makes 6 burritos