When I mentioned to Lane that I was making chili cheese burritos for dinner, I was treated to a brief education on the Taco Bell chilito. Apparently the chilito, or chili cheese burrito as it later became known, was once a popular item on the Taco Bell menu and it is now extinct. There are rumors that some Taco Bells in remote areas still have chili cheese burritos available, but even then you have to “know a guy.” There are Facebook pages dedicated to those who remain hopeful for the return of the chili cheese burrito, and there are message boards where people lend their support and gloat that they have located the almost-mythical item but that it wasn’t on the menu, they had to ask the right person. I had no idea that this was a “thing.” I made these having no idea how they’d compare to the fast food variety, but I didn’t make them to be a replica, I made them because when I decided to try out homemade tortillas and refried beans, I needed to do something with them. So whether or not this resembles the original I can’t say, but I’m guessing it’s close-ish at best.
Using homemade refried beans and wheat tortillas and combining that with lean ground beef makes these much healthier than the Taco Bell variety for one thing. Don’t think that because they aren’t a Taco Bell menu item replica they’re a failure. Nothing could be further from the truth. While I was worried that the sauce turned out too spicy for the kids to take more than two bites of these, I carried on as planned and they were completely fine. Mixing the sauce with the refried beans and meat tamed a lot of the spiciness (and in fairness, it wasn’t that spicy; I’d compare it to a mild Buffalo wing). Because I didn’t want the filling to be very runny, I did only use half of the sauce. I included the full recipe below because you may want to add all of the sauce to the beef and bean mixture. I served these with crock pot Spanish rice, and there were nothing but clean plates on the table when dinner was over.
Chili Cheese Burritos
- 1 1/2 C. refried beans (or one 16 oz. can)
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 8 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 2 1/2 C. water
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
- 2 tsp. distilled white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. minced onions
- 8 burrito tortilla shells
Brown the ground beef in a skillet, breaking up the meat with a fork or potato masher, then drain the fat.
In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the tomato paste and water until smooth.
Add the cayenne pepper, chili powder, salt, cornstarch, vinegar, and onion and whisk to combine.
Heat the mixture to a boil, then continue to cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes and remove from heat.
Add the refried beans to the beef.
Slowly add the tomato sauce mixture (again, I only added half and these were great. Add all of the sauce for a thinner burrito filling).
Add half of the cheese, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly.
Warm the tortillas.
Spoon 1/2- 3/4 C. of the chili into each tortilla and top evenly with the remaining cheese.
Roll up the tortilla into a burrito and serve warm.
Makes 8 burritos.
Source: adapted from Delicious Meliscious