Cranberry-Halloumi Burrito

cranburrito

Ingredients: cranberry-studded halloumi, orange and green bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, black bean, cranberry, bulgur, cumin, black pepper, salt.

Served with: whole wheat tortilla, sour cream, cilantro.

I wrote about halloumi before, here. An excerpt:

“You might not be familiar with halloumi, but you should be! It’s a salty, somewhat rubbery cheese from Cyprus, a bit like a super-firm block of mozzarella. What’s unique about halloumi is that it doesn’t melt, so you can pan-fry or grill it. This puts a delicious brown crust on the surface and takes away the rubberiness. In fact, the resulting texture is very similar to grilled chicken, so it makes a great meat substitute.”

What I did not mention previously is that halloumi usually comes folded over a bit of torn mint leaf. It’s a nice touch, and solidifies the cheese’s Cypriot/Greek identity. So, I was taken aback recently when I saw a package of halloumi featuring cranberry instead of mint. I gave it a try on the grill and was pleasantly surprised by how nicely the tart & sweet flavor of the fruit had permeated the salty cheese. The result was a nuanced yet exceptionally balanced product.

It would not be inappropriate to call this cheese inspirational, considering that’s literally how it affected me. For days, I woke up thinking about new and better ways to enjoy cranberry halloumi. One recurring idea was to construct a sweet & savory “Tex-Mex” burrito, with halloumi replacing grilled chicken strips, and dried cranberries mixed into the rice and/or beans. Does that even sound good? I had to find out one way or another, because I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

To begin preparation, I fired up the grill-pan and blackened a jalapeño and a pair of bell peppers (orange & green). To remove the charred skin, I let the peppers steam inside a sealed plastic bag for a while after grilling, then let them cool. This process allowed the skin to slip off easily.

Next, I made a quick “rice” & black beans using bulgur (coarsley cracked and parboiled wheat). To this I added cumin, salt, pepper, and a sprinkling of dried cranberries. It was tasty, and reminded me of Moroccan couscous dishes, which often feature raisins or other dried fruit.

I divided the halloumi into thick slices, grilled them carefully, and began to assemble the burritos. For a finishing touch, I tossed in a little chopped cilantro and a dab of sour cream. The whole wheat tortillas I used seemed a little raw, so I sat the finished burritos on the grill to pick up some color and texture on their outsides.

I enjoyed my burrito, but I think a Top Chef judge would say that it “needed refinement.” The flavor basically worked, but it was missing something(s) despite having probably too many unique tastes. My proportions were also a bit off, which resulted in a fairly dry burrito. I will probably try this again sometime, perhaps with a sauce to moisten it up.

3 Responses to “Cranberry-Halloumi Burrito”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I really like the sound of using halloumi in a burrito like this.

  2. Madame Fromage Says:

    This is really intriguing. Halloumi and cranberries in a tortilla — I love the idea.

  3. Piedro Says:

    I discovered halloumi a few years ago as I moved to Cyprus, never heard of it before. But straight away I fell in love with that delicious cheese that is so versatile and gives its special note to so many dishes. Very often we try new halloumi recipes and there is not one week since then, that we won’t have at least one meal with halloumi, not to speak about BBQs, where having halloumi is a must.
    Thank you for sharing this yummy recipe and giving me some new ideas.

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