Looking to make enough chili for one night’s dinner without hauling out a heavy pot, we turned to our trusty skillet. We would use it to make both the chili and the rice, cooking in stages, for a one-pan meal with maximum flavor and minimal fuss.
We started by toasting and simmering the rice, flavoring it with lime zest and juice to brighten it up. We then transferred it to individual serving bowls, which we kept warm in a low oven.
While the rice cooked, we prepared our ingredients for a quick but flavorful chili. We found that treating ground beef with salt and baking soda ensured that it would remain moist and tender, even with a short cooking time. Blooming ground cumin, minced garlic, and chipotle chile powder boosted their potency, which contributed complex flavor to the finished chili.
We also whipped up a simple lime-cilantro crema (made from sour cream, cilantro, lime zest and juice, and salt); when our chili bowls were ready to serve, we topped them with the crema for an authentic finish.
You will need a 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid for this recipe. Serve with pickled jalapenos, shredded cheese, and diced avocado.
Chipotle Beef Chili Bowls with Lime-Cilantro Crema
Start to finish: 1 hour, 15 minutes
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons grated lime zest plus 3 tablespoons juice (2 limes)
Salt and pepper
1 pound, 90 percent lean ground beef
2 tablespoons plus 2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 onion, chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
Adjust oven rack to middle position, place four individual serving bowls on rack, and heat oven to 200 F. Whisk sour cream, 2 tablespoons cilantro, 1 teaspoon lime zest, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in bowl; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Toss beef with 2 tablespoons water, baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pinch pepper in bowl until thoroughly combined; let sit for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add rice and cook, stirring often, until edges begin to turn translucent, about 2 minutes.
Add remaining 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
Off heat, add remaining 1 teaspoon lime zest and remaining 2 tablespoons lime juice and fluff gently with fork to incorporate. Divide cooked rice among warmed bowls, cover with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven.
Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in now-empty skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and bell pepper and cook until just beginning to brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Add beef mixture, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, and cook until no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes.
Stir in cumin, garlic, and chili powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, beans, corn, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.
Spoon chili over rice in bowls, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cilantro, and serve with lime-cilantro crema.
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