I can still remember the first time I had Chipotle– but it’s hard to believe how long ago it was. It was a game changer, and regardless of shifting public opinion, it’s definitely left a mark on the way we eat. It gives us convenience, yet it doesn’t compromise our desire for for food made to our exact specifications. There are so many possible combinations–yet we somehow always end up with our “order”– the one that gets the best flavor, pushes the limits of portion sizes, and maybe even manages to get guacamole added without the up-charge. I don’t eat out very often anymore, but I’ve managed to get my Chipotle fix at home after a little experimentation.
Regardless of your favorite restaurant chain, I’d bet you can start to figure out how to mimic the flavors from your carefully-deliberated order, tweak the proportion of ingredients in real-time, and even have enough for later. This is a basic recipe for chicken that you can use as a base for your own trials. You could make this five times–but with a few variations you’ll end up with new flavors every time.
Whether you use a dry-rub of spices, or a wet marinade, I’d suggest pounding the chicken to a uniform thickness first. I’m usually too lazy to do this at first, yet righteously indignant when the thickest part of the chicken breast doesn’t reach the proper temperature by the time the rest of the meat is overcooked. It’s especially annoying when I’m cooking more than one piece at once–I just want to be able to put it on the heat, and know that it’s going to come out consistently. Once you’ve seasoned, and prepped the meat, you can grill, bake, or even stew it with whatever you’re feeling at the moment.
With the meat out of the way, you can move on the the beans, and other produce you like. Crack open a few cans, mix in fresh onions, garlic, peppers, herbs and spices, and simmer it for thirty minutes–or longer. From there, you’ll just need cheese, your choice of sauces, and rice to tie it all together.
2 lb Chicken Breast
1 Onion, sliced thinly
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Guajillo Chili, sliced thinly
1 Jalapeño, diced
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 Cups Rice
4 Cups Black Beans
2 Cups Corn
1 Cup Cilantro/Parsley, chopped
1 Bell Pepper, diced
1 Cup Jack Cheese, grated
1 Avocado, sliced thinly (optional)
4 Tbs Sour Cream (optional)
1/2 Cup Salsa (optional)
2 Bay Leaves
2 Tbs Cumin
2 Tbs Paprika
2 Tbs Garlic Powder
1 Tbs Coriander
1 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Dried Thyme
1 Tsp Dried Rosemary
2 Tbs Vegetable Oil
Salt & Pepper to taste
- Transfer chicken breast to a large ziplock bag, remove all air, and seal. Use a meat mallet, or heavy object to pound the chicken to a uniform thickness (this helps the meat cook more evenly).
- Remove meat from the bag, and season with half of the spices. Place a pan on med-high heat, sear the chicken, then lower the temperature to medium until fully cooked. Let chicken rest for ten minutes before slicing.
- Add onions, garlic, vegetable oil, and bay leaf to the pan. Season with salt and stir to release the fond on the bottom of the pan. Add lime juice, remaining spices, and tomatoes, then stir until soft. Add black beans and corn, then simmer for twenty minutes. Stir in fresh cilantro or parsely, and turn off the heat.
- Serve chicken, beans, and rice with cheese, sour cream, avocado, and other desired toppings.