I've never been a huge fan of the burrito (I know, I'm weird). They're kind of a mess: a giant doughy tortilla blanket stuffed with a mishmash of ingredients that get all mangled up and mushed together as you fork your way through it. I love the flavors, so what's the problem? I'm in the "deconstructed" group of eaters out there—those of us who usually like to keep our foods separate when we can. I've always been like this. I'd rather eat the parts of a sandwich, and when I was nine or ten, a chef's salad was my favorite thing in the world precisely because I could pick out and savor each tasty ingredient separately.
Surprisingly, I've never eaten or heard of a burrito bowl until my sister took me for a quick lunch at a Chipotle in New York City over the summer. Not that a burrito bowl is the epitome of a deconstructed dish, but it was the first time that I was able to think of a burrito in a way that didn't include a wrap that smushes everything up like it's been through a trash compactor. I realized that a burrito bowl is the perfect way to enjoy all of the flavors I love about this Tex-Mex dish.
To make this the ultimate burrito bowl, I decided to cook up each component from scratch. That meant cooking my own black beans, making my own creamy guacamole, steaming ears of corn ('cause I love corn), and chopping up a fresh spicy tomato-cilantro salsa. For texture, I'd add some crunchy tortilla chips to the bowl. trs For moist chicken with fresh, light flavor, I poached chicken breasts, and then tossed the shredded shards in a zingy lime zest dressing. In the end, as I piled up my burrito bowl high with all the delicious "stuff," including a handful of shredded cheese and sour cream (all that's missing is the canned black olives!), I realized that I'd written myself a dangerous ticket to serious session of overeating. Maybe the wrap serves a purpose after all.
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About the author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore as a freelance writer for Time Out Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.