One of my kids loves Chipotle Grill’s Burritos. This is a gigantic size tortilla filled with rice, beans, meat, salsa, cheese, and sour cream. Although the ingredients in and of themselves don’t sound too unhealthy, one of these burritos with all the fixings (sour cream, cheese, guacamole) tops 1000 calories! However, deconstructed and served as a burrito rice bowl, and leaving out the sour cream, cheese, and guacamole, the calories can be reduced in half. The sodium content is a whole other issue (a whopping 1650 mg sodium).
This past week, while checking out Foodspotting’s SF Chefs Guide to Ballpark Food, the Cha Cha Bowl from Orlando’s Caribbean BBQ at Willie Mays Plaza in San Francisco, California, caught my eye. It reminded me of the Burrito Bowl from Chipotle Grill. The description on Foodspotting said this dish was made with cucumbers, but the recipe I found used zucchini.
So what’s in a Cha Cha Bowl or Mexican Chicken and Black Bean Rice Bowl as I call it? It’s basically a bowl of rice topped with black beans, grilled chicken or pork that has been marinated in a rich chili sauce, and pineapple zucchini salsa. Not typical ballpark fare, although these days ballparks seem to be offering a more diverse menu. I love seeing all the new varieties of food offerings at sports complexes.
I decided to give this a try at home this week. I have to be honest – there are many shortcuts that could have been taken with this recipe that I for some insane reason did not choose to do. Although I thought I would have plenty of time to make all the different components from scratch, life got in the way, and things were a mad scramble yesterday in order to get this post completed for today. See the recipe below for potential shortcuts.
We had a little scare yesterday morning. At 10:30AM I got a phone call from the nurse at my youngest son’s school. Apparently things had gotten a little rough during gym and my son fell down on the ground headfirst. I rushed to pick him up and the nurse was clearly concerned. My son had headaches, dizziness and nausea, all signs of a concussion. The pediatrician determined that my son probably had a mild concussion. My oldest son experienced a severe concussion as a high school football player two years ago, so I was so relieved to know that this was just a mild one.
Tonight, he was feeling much better, so I thank God that it is nothing serious. Thanks to all of you who reached out to me on Facebook yesterday – I really appreciate it.
Today, a group of bloggers is honoring Soraya Darabi and Alexa Andrzejewski jointly as Top 50 Women Game Changers in Food. We are on #49 and have just one more week to go in this event. I’d never heard of these women, but Soraya Darabi and Alexa Andrzejewski are two of the brains behind Foodspotting, an iPhone application and website that allows users to post and discover restaurant dish recommendations through photographs based on their proximity. It is local, mobile, and social wrapped into one app, and has a global reach, with over 600,000 foods “spotted.”
I haven’t had a chance to try Foodspotting yet, but my son just downloaded it on my iPhone for me, so I’m hoping to take it out with me this coming weekend when I visit some local restaurants for a photo shoot.
Cha Cha Bowl (Chicken and Black Bean Rice Bowl)
Pineapple and Zucchini Salsa
- 1 small zucchini shredded
- 1 carrot shredded
- 1/4 pineapple chopped
- 1 scallion chopped
- 2 tablespoons cilantro leaves chopped
- 1 small garlic clove minced
- 1 Thai chili or 1/2 jalapeno pepper seeded, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 2 cups medium-grain brown rice
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Al Pastor Adobo Marinade:
- 4 dried hot chilies
- 6 dried mild chilies I used New Mexico chilies; ancho chilies would also work
- 2 chipotle chiles seeded
- 3/4 cup white vinegar
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon organic sugar
- 1/4 yellow onion chopped
- 2 cloves
- 1/4 piece cinnamon stick
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 pounds boneless chicken breast or thighs
Fresh Tomato Salsa:
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes chopped
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper or Thai chili pepper seeded, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cooked Black Beans
- 1 cup Roasted Corn
- 1 cup avocado diced
Pineapple and Zucchini Salsa
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Season with salt, to taste. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. Bring to room temperature just before serving.
Heat oil in a medium pan. Add onion and garlic and saute until onion is translucent. Add rice and cook about 2-3 minutes or until rice gets a little toasty. Place rice in a rice cooker, and add water and salt. Cook on brown rice setting. Fluff just before serving.
Al Pastor Adobo Marinade
Place chiles in a pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until softened. Remove stems and seeds and transfer softened chiles to a food processor. Add all remaining ingredients, except chicken, and puree until smooth. Cover chicken in marinade. Let marinate at least 1 hour and preferably overnight. Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade.
Place marinade in a small saucepan and cook until slightly reduced. Set aside.
Preheat a grill. Grill chicken until cooked through. Cut into cubes.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Mix all the ingredients for Fresh Tomato Salsa together in a small bowl. Drain excess liquid.
In 4 or 6 serving bowls, scoop a spoonful of rice into the bowl. Arrange Chicken, Pineapple and Zucchini Salsa, Black Beans, Fresh Tomato Salsa, and Roasted Corn on top of rice. Spoon some cooked chicken marinade on top of chicken if desired.
The original recipe called for lots of different dried chili peppers. Since I had New Mexico chilies and Indian chili peppers in my pantry, that's what I used. I halved the amount of Pineapple Zucchini Salsa as I had several additional toppings. Also, Instead of using granulated garlic in the brown rice, I used onions and garlic. I reduced the marinade and used it to spoon over the cooked chicken before serving.
All the components in this dish can be made several days ahead. I made the black beans a few days before I needed them, and marinated the chicken overnight.
(1) Use canned cooked black beans; rinse well and drain before using
(2) Use plain cooked brown rice (leftovers are fine)
(3) Leave out the roasted corn
(4) Leave out the fresh tomato salsa