I once went to visit a boyfriend of mine in New York. It was probably, no, actually, definitely, the worst holiday I’ve ever had.
I won’t go into details. Other than to tell you one story from my time there. He told me he was taking me out for supper. Of all the amazing places New York has to offer, you can imagine, I was pretty excited. I got all glammed up, well I had a shower and brushed my hair, but you know what I mean. I was eager with anticipation as to what super snazzy restaurant we would be going to. I actually wasn’t hoping for super snazzy, I wanted cool and trendy. Like me. In my dreams.
Anyway, to cut a long story short. We arrived, and far from a swanky maitre’d arriving to show us to our candle lit table for two, we queued up at a fast food counter. He took me to Chipotle. He had mentioned the name but being English I had put a fancy English/french accent on the name that made it sound like Chipot-lay. That is not how it’s pronounced. It’s Chipotle. Like bottle.
It’s the joint that brought the burrito into Americas fast food repertoire.
Right, now don’t get me wrong, I love burritos. As much as the next person, probably more so. But Chipotle is kind of on a par with Maccy D’s. So this was not exactly the kind of place I envisaged for the romantic night of proverbially being swept off my feet.
But, I guess it did introduce me to the joys of the burrito bowl. There is always a silver lining. In hind sight, Chipotle was the highlight of my trip.
The burrito bowl is a magical thing. All the delicious-ness of a burrito, without it being swaddled together into a little burrito baby which you get the feeling would make quite a considerable ‘thud’ if you dropped it on the table. Which of course you can do, because it’s a burrito baby and not a real one.
A burrito bowl such as this is a lovely thing to make for friends when they come over for supper, and somehow feels much more appropriate to serve, than an actual burrito, which lets be honest, is just a fancy hot sandwich.
Burrito bowls have that great dinner party element where people can assemble their own which is fun. And they are amazing to make as the host, as it’s very stress-free entertaining! A winning combination.
These gorgeous little bowls are filled with mexican spiced roasted chicken thighs, warm garlic black beans, creamy avocado and tomato and courgette salad. This is all accompanied by coriander turned quinoa which topped with a dollop of cooling creme fraiche, a sprinkling of cheese and a dash of hot sauce. Oh my, I want to eat this right now!
Because we are forgoing the tortilla wrap, these are little guilt-free bowls of goodness. Bowls packed full of protein, healthy fats and vegetables. Take that Chipotle.
I promise you sincerely that every element is simple as pie – no much much easier than pie to make. The instructions look long but that’s just because there are lots of little elements. But honestly, it could not be simpler to pull this all together and once you’ve done it once, you will be doing it blindfold.
The best thing is that everything can be made ahead of time as they are served at room temperature. You can just whack the chicken in the oven when everyone has arrived, and get the beans going whilst you lay everything out on the table. Perfection.
So to prepare enough for 4 people to make burrito bowls you will need:
- 6 chicken thighs, skin on (you might have some left over, but you will want to make yourself some for lunch the next day...trust me)
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- Glug of olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- Simply, cut the thigh bone out of the things using a pair of scissors.
- Pop everything in a bowl to marinate for an hour, or overnight if you can. Then when ready pop them in a hot oven at 200C for about 25 mins until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is gorgeously crispy.
- Slice into strips and pop into a bowl.
- Top Tip: You can cook them as soon as your guests arrive and when they're cooked, just take out of the oven and cover with tin foil until you are ready. They will sit happily for at least half an hour like this, no stress.
For the avocado cream - click on this and it will tell you exactly how to make it, it's so easy!
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- half a cucumber
- 1 courgette
- 1 clove garlic
- olive oil, salt and pepper
- Chop your little tomatoes into quarters.
- Peel your cucumber. Slice in half lengthways and scoop out the middle watery seeds with a teaspoon. Then chop so they are roughly the same size as the tomatoes. Use a fancy julienne peeler to make courgette ribbons (if you don't have one, a cheese grater also does an excellent job).
- Pop everything a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, add the crushed garlic, season with salt and pepper and stir it all together.
- 2 gem lettuce hearts
- ½ lemon juice
- Roughly chop the lettuce and pop in a bowl.
- At the last minute squeeze over the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
Pop the creme fraiche in a bowl. Ta dah.
I had some left over cooked pancetta which I crumbled over the top, but this is by no means compulsory.
1 lime: cut into wedges and pop into a bowl.
hunk of cheddar – about 200g: This is the only bit that isn’t strictly ‘skinny’ but the stronger the cheddar you use, the less you will need.
Simply grate the cheese and pop into a bowl.
- 2 cups quinoa
- bunch of coriander
- ½ lemon juice
- salt, pepper
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- Pop the quinoa in a pan and add the lemon juice, chilli powder and paprika, salt and pepper. Then add the water and cook quinoa according to the packet instructions.
- Once it's cooked, allow to cool slightly before chopping the coriander. Add the coriander to the quinoa, drizzle with a little olive oil and give it a good stir. Completely delicious. If you don't like coriander, chopped parsley, or basil, or even spring onions would be great too.
- 2 cans of cooked black beans
- 2 cloves garlic
- glug of olive oil
- (These are one of my absolute favourite things to make and eat at the moment. So completely delicious) All you have to do is heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then add the garlic and let it cook for a minute. Be careful not to let it burn as burnt garlic does not taste good.
- Then drain your cooked beans and pop them into the pan. Give it all a good stir to coat the beans in the garlicky goodness.
- Season with some salt. And they're done!
Right, so now you’ve done everything! Simply lay it all out and make sure you give people good sized bowls which they can pile high with goodies. Don’t forget the hot sauce!
We followed ours with my gluten-free chocolate and ginger slump cake for a complete guilt-free decadent feast.
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