So I routinely serve up very simple style burritos in my apartment (beef, sour cream, cheese and white flour tortillas), and I've grown well past the days of using pre-mixed seasoning packets to flavor the ground beef.
However, after a particularly tired night where I reneged on that and used a packet that I had leftover sitting in the pantry, I realized just how much flavor it managed to impart into the beef comparative to what I normally get out of my manually done spice blends.
Typically speaking, I use a blend of:
- Chili Powder
- Chipotle Powder
- Mustard Powder
- Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
- Touch of Salt
- Cinnamon (just a touch for some sweetness)
I brown the beef, drain off the fat, and then get it back in the pan to simmer in a mix of red wine vinegar and water for volume. When about half of the liquid is gone, I then add the spice mix.
Generally I get the heat just right with the chili/chipotle, but it's not quite salty enough and the cumin flavor doesn't seem to really impart itself enough to the point I'd like. Likewise, there's only a hint of the vinegar flavor, which isn't necessarily a bad thing when all of the other flavors are weak, but if the other flavors came more to life, I'd expect the vinegar flavor to be at least a bit bolder as well.
Is there an ingredient I'm missing for this type of cooking that aids in making those flavors really stick to the beef? Or is this possibly just a case of "add more X"? Possibly a technique / timing issue? Alternatively, is there a spice out there that you could recommend as a stronger version of any of said ingredients? I'd really like to NOT overload the salt levels, and I'd also prefer to keep straining off the fat from the browning process.
Thanks in advance!
edit: Thank you all for the suggestions! I'm making them again tonight and will be trying a combination of Bob's and Mrs. Garden's answers. Going to be adding Worcestire Sauce, replacing water with Beef Stock, upping the amount of Cumin and using some fresh minced garlic towards the end of the simmer (and maybe some onion powder as well). I'll update when the verdict is out.
edit 2: The fresh garlic and extra cumin definitely brought out some more flavor, and the Worcestershire definitely gave a bit more punch than I would have thought it could possibly do. The flavor was fantastic, albeit a bit overpowering, but that I'll attribute that to having to readjust the amounts of everything with the new ingredients / ratios. Thank you all for your suggestions again.