Sunday, November 28, 2010

far better than the chimichanga

Enchirito is the trademarked name of Taco Bell's menu item of the Tex-Mex food similar to an enchilada. It is composed of a flour tortilla filled with seasoned ground beef taco meat (with options to substitute steak or chicken), beans, diced onions, cheddar cheese, and "red sauce".

The Enchirito was invented in 1968 by Bob McCrea, who submitted the recipe to Dan Jones (who now owns several Taco Bell franchises in Los Angeles County) for 50 dollars and a thank you. It was first test marketed in Albuquerque and then was officially placed on the menu and patented in 1970. In 1993, in order to make room for new menu items, Taco Bell discontinued the Enchirito, but brought it back in December 1999. It continues to be available as of 2010.

The Enchirito was originally composed of a soft round yellow corn masa tortilla, filled with ground beef taco meat, beans, and onions, rolled into a tube shape. It was then placed in a paper tray coated with aluminum foil, and topped with what Taco Bell refers to as "red sauce," grated cheddar cheese, and three black olive slices. Alternatively, it can be topped with "green sauce" which is a spicy sauce made from green chilies and onions. Burritos can also have the "green sauce" in them. They were originally called "Green Burritos." The Green nomenclature has been removed from the current menu.

The coining of the name Enchirito (a portmanteau of the words enchilada and burrito) for this item was a bit of a peculiar action by Taco Bell. It was the only item on the menu, at the time, to not use the common Mexican food nomenclature for that item. Whereas a burrito is typically a flour tortilla filled with beans, and an enchilada is typically a corn tortilla filled with meat and smothered in chile sauce, the name Enchirito communicates the combination of these elements. On the other hand, it appears the unusual name was not to help Americans unfamiliar with the Spanish names of the food items; indeed, for many years Taco Bell menu boards featured a system of phonetic pronunciation guides next to each item.

Even after the Enchirito was officially discontinued in 1993, some customers still ordered them, and word spread through the Internet that many restaurants would still make them with the ingredients they had available. Due to this underground popularity, it was decided to bring it back, and commercials, featuring the Taco Bell chihuahua promoting the Enchirito, began airing on December 26, 1999, with later commercials in mid-2000 featuring the rapping or singing styles of the "five guys with no talent". However, some things about the item had changed. The serving container had become a coated pressed-paper oblong bowl when dining in, or a black plastic bowl with a clear plastic lid if ordering from the drive-thru. Most significantly, the character of the dish was altered by changing the yellow corn masa tortilla to a white wheat flour tortilla. The sliced olives were omitted. The chicken Enchirito and the steak Enchirito, which respectively substitute chicken or steak for the ground beef, were also introduced as options. The Enchirito is served with a plastic spork.

this article was ripped from wikipedia - see the original here.

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