Welcome to Hell(‘s Kitchen)! Cooking for Metalheads, Vol. 1
Greetings, basement urchins and frostbitten pariahs. I’m here today to talk about one of your basic human needs: food. We may all have varying tastes in extreme metal, but one thing we all share in common is our need to eat something. However, I’m just going to make a biased assumption that since you’re here on a metal blog, you probably don’t know how to feed yourself very well. Even my dear friend Masterlord subsists largely on El Monterey frozen burritos. Hell, the writers once had a lengthy discussion regarding the poverty food that was a staple for each of us growing up.
Well, I’m here today to change all that, one recipe at a time. “But W., why does it matter if the only thing I can cook is grilled cheese and Wolf brand chili?” Let me put it this way. You don’t want to settle for the Five Finger Death Punch equivalent of a meal when you can have a rich Blut Aus Nord recipe, right? “But W., every meal I touch turns to ashes.” I know. That’s why we’re going to start things slow and simple.
Today I’ve selected a relatively simple recipe that’s also extremely delicious. I present to you my southwestern sweet potato (yam) burrito recipe. Below is a list of ingredients and cooking instructions so that even the most incapable amongst you can handle this dish. I’ll also be providing a beer pairing to enhance the flavor as well as a metal album to enjoy while you dine. So get your spatulas ready; let’s do some cooking!
Southwestern Sweet Potato Burritos Ingredients:
- 1 onion
- 1 large can of sugared yams or sweet potatoes
- 1 can of green chiles
- 1 can of refried black beans
- 2 cups of shredded cheese (fiesta blend)
- 10 fluffy tortillas
- Various spices (more on this later)
The real strength of this meal is the vibrant dichotomy between sweet and spicy. The green chiles, seasonings, and salsa will add a toasty warmth to the burritos offset by the silky sweetness of the sweet potatoes or yams. This is a fun, vegetarian-friendly meal that touches your taste buds in multiple places. It’s also quite filling and provides you with a nice serving of protein, veggies, starch, carbs, and dairy. A balanced meal is the key to the maintaining your poser-slaying strength. For the more bloodthirsty among you, consider adding some shredded pork to the onion-bean-chile mix.
1. Preheat the oven to 450º. DO NOT MISS THIS STEP. You really don’t want to be stuck waiting for the oven to heat after you’ve fully prepared the dish. This is sort of the intro track that sets the entire mood for the album.
2. Cut the onion. There are a number of worrisome individuals here who have probably chopped a thing or two, so this part shouldn’t be an issue. Try to cut the onion into small pieces. You don’t want to have half a strand of onion hanging out of your mouth after a large bite of burrito. Also, if you’re not a metalhead of grit and often weep like a poser listening to Black Veil Brides when you cut onions, chew some gum during the process.
3. Sauté the onion. The goal here is to get the slices of onion relatively soft. Don’t skimp on the oil in the pan, or you’ll end up with blackened chunks. That may work for crust bands, but we don’t want that here. This is something that you’ll have to feel out, but 5-10 minutes on high should be more than sufficient.
4. Add in the black refried beans and green chiles. Just like a top tier metal band that’s able to draw upon a little bit of everything to enhance the overall aesthetic of an album, recipes often work best when the individual flavors are allowed to comingle in a delicious milieu, enhancing each and bringing out a delectably cohesive taste. Think of it similarly to The Chariot’s awesome grand finale One Wing. It wouldn’t have been nearly as potent if the western chords, horns, spoken words, keys, etc. hadn’t been allowed to simmer together in the same studio. Stir the refried beans, green chiles and onions together until a relatively uniform mixture is reached. Continue to cook on high.
5. Flavor the mix. Today, I’m adding salt, pepper, Tony’s, herbed poultry (note: this removes the vegetarian appeal of the meal, so use as desired), ground cumin, and chile powder. Normally I would also include fresh garlic, but I somehow happened to run out. However, garlic enhances everything and is great for your health, so don’t skip it if you can. You can vary which spices you use on this dish, but I recommend you try to pick flavors that will bring out both the sweetness and the spiciness of the dish. I’ve also added a little chipotle salsa from New Mexico to give the dish that extra kick. This dish will taste well enough without any additional spices, but adding some extra ingredients can really help a recipe to stand out, just like a tasteful little solo or drum fill enhances a song. One word of caution, though. Don’t over-salt the mix. Once you do, what has been done can never be undone. Once all the seasonings are added, stir the mix and continue to heat on high until it starts bubbling. Reduce heat to low.
6. Prepare the yams (sweet potatoes). I usually pour out the syrup from the can before heating the yams in a pot. This can help reduce the overpowering sweetness of this ingredient. You can leave a little syrup in the yams if you want to up the saccharine factor. However, I would suggest that if you pour out the syrup, add a little milk to keep the consistency relatively creamy. I’ve added some because the wife strongly prefers the company of non-dairy milk. Now you need to mash the yams until you have a viscous layer. Cook on high until the yams start bubbling. Reduce heat to low.
7. Prepare the pan. At this point, you’ll want to get the pan ready. You should be using a roughly large glass cookware pan. I prefer Pyrex because, in addition to making designer shorts that give you all kinds of street cred, the company produces glassware that is not to be trifled with. Oil the pan up with some vegetable oil. You may want to coat the sides as well.
8. Roll the burritos. You’ve almost reached the end! For this step, you’re going to need to assemble the burritos. You may want to heat the tortillas in the microwave for about 10 second to make them pliable. Add about a standard spoonful of the onion-bean-chile mix, a spoon of yams, and a sprinkle of cheese into each tortilla. You don’t want to cram too much in at this point because you want to fit all 10 tortillas in the pan. You may need to squeeze two tortillas into the side at the end of the others. Roll the tortillas fairly tightly.
9. Add the top layer. At this point, you’re going to pour the remaining onion mix and sweet potatoes onto the top of the tortillas. Spread both around until the covering is relatively even. Sprinkle more cheese on top. This is sort of like adding the final production touches to your well-tuned album.
10. Cook for ten minutes. Pretty self-explanatory. Don’t cook these bad boys for two long. Slap on some oven mitts and pull them out when that buzzer goes off.
11. Enjoy! Scarf down your tasty meal. You’ve earned it. Don’t forget to clean the dishes afterwards. A man who can handle himself in the kitchen is a worthy warrior indeed.
Beer Pairing: A lot of you are binge-drinkers, so put away that Natty Light and pay attention. For this meal, you want a fall-flavored beer. Something with a fruity note that isn’t overpowering. I’d suggest Dogfish Head’s pumpkin ale. The smooth brown sugar taste and full-bodied spice notes will accentuate the beautiful duality of the meal.
Album Pairing: This is an earthy, warm meal that excels in its contrasting nature. To match it, you want something with a southwestern flair that will both hit you over the head with some heavy moments but also give you space to enjoy the beauty and grandeur of the piece as a whole. Might I suggest Prehistoricisms by Intronaut? That rich bass tone and California attitude perfectly accentuate the texture and zest of your sweet potato burritos.
Don’t let me down, kitchen warriors! Go forth and conquer.