The other day I met with the lovely Amy after work and we went to a Wetherspoons, because we're classy girls with shallow pockets. I've been trying not to eat so much crap so dismissed the usual beer and a burger option, and took a look at their Mexican menu instead. I ended up trying the naked burrito, which was basically a burrito bowl - rice, pork, salad, guac etc - and it was surprisingly good. So much so that I couldn't actually stop thinking about it... and when was the last time that's happened with a Wetherspoons?
Later that week, we were pondering dinner options and I decided to give my own burrito bowl a go. I took to Pinterest for inspiration and found this recipe, involving a slow cooker. Perrrrfect. I adapted it a little, but it worked really well and created such a tasty, fresh, healthy dinner. I had it two nights running, Matt had it for three nights and I think we would have both been happy to eat it all week!
What's great about a slow cooker is that you can throw frozen meat in there and as it cooks all day, it'll be done by the evening. We had chicken breasts in the freezer and most of the ingredients in the cupboards - all we had to buy was the fresh salad and the sweetcorn, so it was the ideal recipe to decide to make on a moment's notice. We prepped everything before bed and put it in the slow cooker with the frozen chicken, and then just turned it on before we left for work. There is some debate about whether or not it's safe to cook frozen food in the slow cooker, so do what you feel comfortable with - we were absolutely fine, though.
Slow Cooker Burrito Bowls
4 chicken breasts (frozen or fresh)
1 red onion, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 carton or can of diced tomatoes
1 chicken stock cube
Half a pint of water
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspooons paprika
1 teaspoon dried coriander
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small can sweetcorn, drained
Optional toppings: Fresh coriander, avocado/guacamole, salsa, sour cream, spring onions, lettuce, tomatoes, hot sauce, chillies, cheese, feta.
1. Add the following to your slow cooker: chicken, onion, pepper, tomatoes, stock cube, water, cumin, cayenne, paprika, coriander, garlic.
2. We just threw it all in together and didn't stir it beforehand - it will cook down so all the spices will mingle, and the stock cube will melt into the water so you don't need to make it up. Put your slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.
3. About half an hour before you want to dish up (or when you get home from work), open the slow cooker lid and shred the chicken with two forks, and give everything a good stir. Then add the sweetcorn and black beans and pop the slow cooker on low for another 30 mins.
4. Put the rice on to cook in a saucepan (note - there is a way to cook the rice with everything else which is here - but it really only works if you're home the whole time this is cooking).
5. Taste the burrito mix and see if it needs any further seasoning - I added a little salt and pepper.
6. Prep your salad. I chopped up some lettuce and made a simple salsa of chopped red chillies (deseeded), spring onions, coriander and finely chopped tomatoes, and a simple guacamole which was just crushed avocado, salt, pepper and garlic.
7. Serve! Do it however you want, but I opted to keep all the components separate in a bowl so I could mix up as I saw fit. I topped with a bit more coriander, because coriander is the best. A lot of burrito bowl recipes include cheese but I honestly didn't think it needed it - and coming from me, that's a big deal, because cheese is my bae.
This is a really easy dish to make, especially in a busy week. The slow cooker does all the hard work! We found it was great for using up what was in the fridge, too - so if you have any other veg to use up, bung it in. I loved that I didn't have to shop in advance, too as the ingredients are simple things we already had. Everything extra that we needed was fresh or could be thrown in at the end (like the sweetcorn), so we let this cook all day while we were at work, and just picked up the extra ingredients on the way home and dished up. Pretty darn chuffed with that.