chipotle chicken burrito bowls with pico de gallo and guacamole

7:33:00 PM

I’ve written before about how much I love this bowl trend of throwing some protein and vegetables over a nice bowl of rice or other grain. I’m pretty sure that this is the first “bowl” I ever made, and I’m also pretty sure it’s my favorite. 

I didn’t eat a Chipotle burrito until I was in college. (Or a Big Mac, for that matter. Not sure what happened in my childhood.) Mexican (or American-Mexican, as I assume nothing eaten at Chipotle has ever resembled food made in Mexico) food was never my thing. After college I lived next door to Pedro’s, a now-closed, fairly mediocre establishment that had delicious fajitas and created the “mug-o-rita”.  I’m not sure I ever really even ate Taco Bell until I worked retail in a mall in high school and depended on the food court for my daily supper (ask me how much I miss that nonsense. P.S. Respect your cashiers.) 

So, yeah, my experience with legit Mexican fare is close to nada. Maybe that’s why I love these bowls so much. Or just because they’re so simply delicious. I loveeee this for end-of-summer fare. The corn and tomatoes are slowing down for the season, and you want that one last whiff of summer to show up in your dinner. These are perfect. 

I found the inspiration for these bowls on What's Gaby Cooking but thought we could do better than that - homemade pico de gallo and guacamole is delicious. Also, fresh corn instead of frozen. No need for that at the end of summer.

That being said - yeah, of course you can use store-bought pico de gallo and guac. Doesn’t mean you should, but, people have shit to do and sometimes that doesn’t include making your own salsa. That’s fine.

chipotle chicken burrito bowls with pico de gallo

for the chicken
1 tbsp canola oil
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo (canned), finely chopped (you can substitute chipotle chile powder, about ½ tbsp)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb chicken thighs, trimmed and chopped into bite-sized pieces (you can use breasts if you like)
cooking spray or canola oil

for the rice
1 tsp canola oil
1 cup long-grained rice (I used brown basmati)
2 cups water or broth
the juice of 1 lime (~2-3 tbsp)
salt and pepper

for toppings
1 can black or pinto beans (15.5 oz, or 1.5 cups if you make your own beans)
2 ears of fresh sweet corn

for easy guacamole 
2 avocado
2 cloves garlic, minced
juice of 1 lime (~2-3 tbsp)
salt and pepper
cilantro, if desired

for pico de gallo
3-4 fresh tomatoes, chopped
½ cup red onion, chopped
about ½ fresh jalapeño, seeded and chopped (adjust this for your spice tolerance and the heat of your jalapeño)
cilantro, if you’re a masochist 

for serving
grated cheese as desired (I used a sharp cheddar, a pepperjack works great here)
lime wedges
sour cream, if desired

Marinate the chicken up to a day in advance (letting it sit for at least an hour is the best.) To make the marinade, whisk together the canola oil, chipotle pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and salt and pepper in a large ziplock bag (or a bowl or sealable container.) Once well-mixed, add the cut-up chicken. (Since there’s little acid in the marinade, you’re fine marinating this overnight.)

Start the rice. In a medium saucepan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat, then add the rice and lime juice (and some cilantro if you’re into that, you weirdo.) Add some salt and pepper and saute for a few minutes until rice is toasty and slightly golden. Add water or chicken broth, cover, and reduce heat. Cook for time indicated on package directions (for brown basmati rice, it took about 40 minutes.) 

Make the pico de gallo and guacamole so that the flavors have time to meld.

For guacamole, peel, pit, and chop the avocados. Place in a bowl and mash well with the back of a fork. Add salt, pepper, the chopped garlic, and lime juice and mix well. Add cilantro if desired. Refrigerate until ready to use. 

For pico de gallo, combine the chopped tomatoes, onion, and jalapeño. Season with cilantro if desired. Add salt and pepper to taste and refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray or a little bit of oil. Add the chicken and any reserved marinade, and stir-fry until cooked through. Set aside and keep warm.

Wipe out skillet. Slice the corn kernels off of the cob with a sharp knife into a bowl. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat again and add the corn to the dry skillet. Cook for a few minutes until the kernels of corn start to get a little bit toasty and warm. Remove and keep warm.

Wipe out skillet again to cook the beans. If using canned, drain the beans in a colander and rinse well. Heat a bit of cooking spray or oil in the skillet, then add the beans and stir-fry until warm. I like to partially mash my beans so they’re more like refried beans, but do them however you like. Season with salt and pepper or even chipotle spice if you’d like. 

To assemble, fluff your rice with a fork and divide evenly among four bowls. Add the remaining ingredients evenly - the cooked chicken, the corn, the beans, the pico de gallo,  and the guacamole. Sprinkle with cheese. Serve with lime for sprinkling lime juice, and sour cream if you want. If you want to be super decadent, adding a few tortilla chips is yummy here. 

Note: If corn is out of season, canned or frozen corn works well, too. I still heat it in the same way and try to get a bit of char on it. If you’re short on time, buying a pre-made salsa and/or guacamole is just fine. If you can get it fresher from the refrigerated section of your grocery store, even better! 

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