Long before Diana Davila opened her Chicago restaurant Mi Tocaya, she knew she would serve a steak burrito. “The burrito was on the menu before there was a menu,” she says. It just made sense: Diana grew up in her parents’ taquerias, “mom and pop places that catered to the American public. We had burritos because everyone loves them,” she says.
But Diana’s steak burrito couldn’t be the same as the ones she grew up with. “I wanted to do it but I wanted it to be different,” she says. “I wanted it to be the best steak burrito that anyone’s ever tried.”
Her Mi Tocaya version combines the everyday pleasures of a burrito with the flavours and celebratory mood of carne asada (grilled beef). “In Mexican culture, we say ‘come over for carne asada’ in the same way Americans say, ‘Come for a barbecue or a cookout.’ It’s the essential barbecue dish that everyone knows. We tenderise, marinate with sazon, beer and onions…My question was, “If you had carne asada meets a steak burrito, what would happen?”
What happens is that you create one of Chicago’s essential go-to dishes. “It’s the only dish on the menu that’s never changed and it probably will never change,” says Diana.
It might not change but it can handle a little Australian Wagyu collab. For our Will It Wagyu series, we send chef and YouTube personality Carla Lalli Music to Mi Tocaya to cook Wagyu Carne Asada Steak Burrito with Diana Davila. The result? “Perfect,” says Diana. “With Wagyu, you think white tablecloth, fine wine, super expensive restaurant or steakhouse. But why not a steak burrito? The quality of the steak is always going to be what makes it the best. It’s a no-brainer.”
30cm (12 in) flour tortillas (recipe below)
black bean fritos
grilled carne asada, diced (recipe below)
chihuahua cheese, shredded (semi-hard cow’s milk cheese)
cos (romaine) lettuce hearts, chopped
150g whole coriander seeds, toasted
150g whole cumin seeds, toasted
15g chile de arbol, toasted
75g dried Mexican oregano, toasted
200g granulated onion
200g granulated garlic
zest from 15 limes, finely grated
2kg (4.4lb) asada (skirt, chuck or flank steak)
salt & pepper, to taste
sazon (recipe above), as required
½ cup Salsa Maggi
½ cup lime juice
1 cup Mexican beer
280g (10 oz) butter
250g (9 oz) manteca (lard)
1.4kg (51 oz) all-purpose flour
30g (1 oz) sea salt
30g (1 oz) baking powder
700ml (24 oz) water
4 cups dry black beans, rinsed in warm water
4 white onions, halved
170g (6 oz) garlic, crushed
10 serrano chillies, split
4 banana peppers, split
water, as needed
60g (2 oz) thyme
60g (2 oz) fresh oregano
15 fresh bay leaves
oil, for cooking
8 white onions, medium dice
170g (6 oz) garlic, crushed
black beans (see above) and their liquid
1 bunch epazote (Mexican herb), chopped
Grind all together, using a molcajete and tejolote (mortar and pestle) if you have.
Store in a sealed container in a cool, dry place.
Butterfly steak into thin sheets, and tenderise with a meat mallet.
Season asada generously with sazon.
Add enough marinade ingredients to generously coat the meat.
Let sit for at least 20 minutes.
Grill over high heat.
Tear or chop into bite-sized pieces.
Whip butter and lard together to aerate.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix.
Let rest for an hour.
Place beans, onion, garlic, chillies and salt in a large stock pot.
Add water and bring to a boil over low heat.
Tie herbs in a bouquet and add to pot.
Simmer until beans are soft.
In a large braising pan, heat oil and sweat onion and garlic.
Add beans and liquid.
Bring to a boil then set to a rolling simmer.
Add epazote and stir through.
Heat tortilla on a hot griddle (comal) on both sides so it becomes pliable.
Smear on about 60g (2 oz) hot black beans.
Add hot carne asada to taste; we do about 225g (8 oz).
Sprinkle cheese, add lettuce, sour cream and avocado.
Start rolling: bring up the side, rolling from the bottom and tucking in the sides.
Sear on the flattop on both sides, cut in half and enjoy.
“The burrito was on the menu before there was a menu” says Diana Davila.