Meem’s Chipotle Chicken Bowl


Have you ever used Chipotle peppers in adobo? They are phenomenal. Chipotles are dried, smoked jalapeños in a sweet red sauce. They bring spice and heat, and if used adequately they can be used in a variety of dishes. The sweet tomato sauce has a less fiery flavor which can be used on its own. These Chipotle peppers come in little cans. There are countless brands to choose from, but I enjoy using La Costeña brand. They are inexpensive and can be stored in a glass container in the fridge to use in other recipes–like chilli! Yumm.

Be careful not to overdo it when adding these peppers, a tablespoon at a time is best. Otherwise, the spice level may be too much to tolerate and will mask the rest of the flavors of the dish. However, if you’re into that kind of heat, then by all means add away, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! 😉

This next recipe is my take on a Chipotle chicken bowl. There are many ingredients you can add to your bowl, but I like to keep it pretty simple and let the Chipotle chicken speak for itself. I did make a cilantro pesto to go along with my bowl this time, and I must say it is amazing all on its own!

I also made my version of a deconstructed cast iron skillet corn, which I think adds great texture to the dish.

Of course, I used my trusty Instant Pot for this dish as well. Absolute time saver. In just 20 minutes, you’ll have super tender chicken. This recipe has a few steps to it, but they really are super simple. The kitchen smelled amazing as I was cooking and couldn’t wait to eat. So, that being said–let’s eat.

Here is the recipe:

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes (total time)

Servings: 6

Ingredients for cast iron skillet corn:

  • 1 can of sweet corn, drained
  • 2 Tbsp of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black ground pepper
  • ½ Tbsp of sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions for skillet corn:

  1. In a medium size cast iron skillet, add the butter on medium heat. Let the butter start to melt and bubble.
  2. Then, add the corn, salt, black ground pepper, sweet paprika, and garlic powder. Stir often. Cook for 5 minutes or until the corn starts to slightly turn a golden color.
  3. Take the skillet off the heat and set aside.

Ingredients for Cilantro Pesto:

  • A bunch of fresh cilantro, cut the stems off
  • ½ cup of fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ cup of pistachios
  • ¼ cup of slivered almonds
  • A drizzle of olive oil
  • A pinch of salt (plus more to taste)
  • A pinch of black ground pepper (plus more to taste)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • A squeeze of fresh lime juice

Directions for the Cilantro Pesto:

Note: You can store the pesto in a mason jar with a lid in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Use it on tacos, pasta, or bruschetta.

  1. In a food processor, add the cilantro, fresh baby spinach, pistachios, slivered almonds, and olive oil and pulse until it is all a fine consistency.
  2. Add the fresh lime juice, salt, and black ground pepper. Mix briefly once more to incorporate all the ingredients.
  3. Set aside for plating.

Ingredients for Chipotle Chicken:

  • 6 small chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black ground pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I used La Costeña brand)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp of honey (optional)
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • 2 Hass avocados, sliced
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, diced (any fresh tomato works)

Directions for Chipotle Chicken:

  1. Turn the Instant Pot on and set to sauté mode.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with the salt and black ground pepper on both sides.
  3. Add the canola oil, garlic, and chicken thighs to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes on each side.
  4. Add the cumin, oregano, diced tomatoes, Chipotle peppers, smoked paprika, fresh lime juice, and brown sugar. Stir to combine.
  5. Turn the sauté mode setting off, and place the lid on the Instant Pot. Turn the vent to sealing mode.
  6. Cook on manual setting for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes of completed cooking time, allow a natural pressure release of 5 minutes. Then do a quick release, and wait until the valve has fully decompressed before opening the lid.
  8. Remove the chicken thighs onto a plate.
  9. Use an immersion blender to purée the sauce. Then add the chicken back into the sauce.
  10. Use tongs to shred the chicken in the sauce. The chicken will be super tender and easy to shred.
  11. If the heat level of the sauce is too much for you, add the heavy cream and honey to tone it down. Cooking it for another 3-5 minutes on sauté mode.

To Assemble the bowl:

  1. Use your favorite bowl and add white rice, shredded Chipotle chicken, corn, avocados, cilantro pesto, tomatoes and a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the whole dish. Salt and black ground pepper to taste.

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