Ask most kids where Mexican food comes from, and the answer is likely to be "from a drive-through." That’s because tacos and burritos have become synonymous with the chain that has popularized the spicy, cheesy, gooey wraps over the last couple of decades. One of their offerings, the five layer burrito, might sound like a unique concoction, but in fact, it is easy and inexpensive to duplicate at home. A five layer burrito is simple beans and ground beef dressed in shredded cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream that has been double wrapped in two burrito shells with a layer of nacho cheese between them.
In other words, a five layer burrito is simply what is commonly known as a bean and beef burrito with a twist. Burritos are generally served with melted, gooey cheese wrapped up with the meat and beans, and most folks consider a burrito without sour cream to be heresy. The clever trick to a five layer burrito is the double wrapping or, more specifically, what’s between the double wrapping.
As with a traditional burrito, the beans, meat, and cheese, along with a dot of sour cream, sit in a fresh burrito shell. This loaded shell, still unwrapped, jumps into the lap of a second burrito shell that has been lavishly coated with nacho cheese. The moment of magic occurs when the cook rolls both shells around the beef, bean, and cheese filling.
Five layer burritos might frolic in a Mexican food lover’s dreams, but for the home cook, there’s no reason to stop there. Adding either diced or sliced avocado or guacamole not only adds another layer of flavor, but it also provides a surprising amount of additional fiber as well as vitamin C and other nutritional goodies. Lettuce and tomato are typically served inside a burrito as well. Cooks with a little extra time might consider sautéing onion and garlic to really make the burrito stand up and sing.
Truly clever cooks have figured out an even easier way to compose a five layer burrito that saves time. Instead of folding ingredients into each burrito before they are wrapped, a five layer burrito casserole is another option. This saves wasted food as well because little tummies might not be able to handle an entire burrito. With a casserole, the cook can portion out an amount appropriate to the size of the diner.
It begins with a large casserole dish that has been lightly oiled. The first layer is simply three or four overlapped burrito shells. Next comes a layer of beans and then one of ground beef. Nacho cheese tops the beef, and sour cream tops the cheese. Another layer of burrito shells covers the casserole, and shredded cheddar cheese tops the burrito shells so that it melts and lightly browns before serving.