Bowled Over

Layering in cooking allows you to combine textures and flavors in a way that allows you to enjoy a variety in one place. I love using the technique in everything from noodle bowls to salads and everything in between. So it should come as no surprise that I really enjoy burrito bowls. Sometimes I go out to a restaurant for one, but I'm far more likely to make them at home because, let's face it, they are easy and having everyone put their own bowl together rids me of anyone pointing at one item in their bowl and making an icky face. (I shall remain silent on which face that's most likely to be in my home!) And when it comes to burrito bowls, my favorite variety involves seared sirloin steak:

Now, a dish like this is especially flexible. You'll note I don't have cheese in this bowl. Want cheese? Add it! I didn't add salsa or hot sauce, although I often just put them out on the table for everyone to add as desired. Want a dollop of sour cream? Go for it! Avocados not your thing? Skip 'em altogether or let someone else at the table enjoy your share. You get the idea.

You could put out chips and salsa and/or guacamole with a meal like this, but I like to keep it simple by adding chips to the bowl and dipping into what's already there. Add a frosty beverage of your choice and dinner's done. If you happen to be looking for a tailgating idea, consider making everything in advance and letting folks assemble their bowls on the fly al fresco. It's great picnic, potluck, or tailgating cuisine. Enjoy!

Beef Burrito Bowls

  • 1 lb. sirloin steak
  • 1 scallion, coarsely chopped (plus more for serving)
  • ¼ cup canola oil plus more for cooking
  • 2-3 T. fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ T. olive oil
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 cups cooked rice
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • Chopped avocados

Slice the steak into bite-sized pieces. (This is sometimes easier to do if you partially freeze the meat prior to slicing.) Place the steak, chopped scallion, canola oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper into a resealable plastic bag. Seal the bag and mix its contents. Allow it to rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours (ideally overnight).

In a medium-sized sauté pan, combine the olive oil, black beans, cumin, and smoked paprika. Heat over medium-low heat until warm. Adjust the seasonings as needed.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of canola oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the meat and sear until it is browned and a little crispy on the edges. Make the rice while you prepare the beans and the steak.

To assemble the bowls, add a generous helping of rice to the bottom of a bowl. Layer the beans, steak, tomato, more chopped scallions, and chopped avocado on top. Serve with tortilla chips, if desired. Additional toppings can be added according to your tastes.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 40 minutes, plus marinating time

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