I was trying to decide what to do for dinner tonight, and Wednesday are always hard with church, school activities and work schedules for everyone to eat together. I decided I needed to find something that would be easy for everyone to eat or re-heat as they got home this evening, and started thinking about the burrito bowls at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. One of the things I decided right away was that I would do carnitas in the crock-pot so I wouldn't need to keep an eye on it all afternoon, and the next thought was "maybe quinoa would work instead of rice to make this more nutritious and gluten free".
I have to say, the experiment turned out better than I could have hoped, and cilantro lime quinoa will make many more appearances in our house. It made a great base for this dish, and helped absorb any excess liquid from the other ingredients like the carnitas and the beans. The great thing about this dinner is everyone can make it the way they want, choosing their own toppings, the perfect amount of beans and meat for their taste etc. without any arguments or disappointments. You all have got to give this one a try, this was amazing.
Beer Braised Carnitas Burrito Bowl
A Gluten-Free Burrito Bowl featuring Beer Braised Carnitas and Cilantro Lime Quinoa makes for a flexible and delicious family meal. You can lay out different cheeses, salsas, and other toppings and let everyone build their own.
Beer Braised Carnitas
- 2 – 2 1/2 lbs. boneless pork tenderloin, cut in half
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme, tied together
- 1 – 2 bay leaves
- 12 oz. bottle Mexican beer
- 1/4 C. orange juice
- 2 – 3 T. chipotle in adobo
- 1 1/2 t. kosher salt
- 1 t. black pepper
- 1 C. quinoa
- 2 C. water
- 1 bay leaf
- zest of one lime
- juice of one lime
- 1 T. finely chopped cilantro
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1/2 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 15 oz. cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 3/4 C. water
- 1/2 t. chipotle powder (or use smoked paprika if you do not have chipotle)
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1/2 t. black pepper
- Place all of the ingredients into your slow cooker. Cover and set it to cook for 6 hours. After the first four hours or so, I flipped the the tenderloin pieces over and recovered quickly, but you do not have to do that.
- After six hours, remove the tenderloin pieces onto a cutting board. They will be so tender, they’ll be falling apart. Remove and discard the thyme bundle and the bay leaves. Slice the tenderloin into 2 inch slices then shred the slices. Return the meat back into the slow cooker with its sauce.
- Keep it on the warm setting until ready to use.
- In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil with bay leaf. Add quinoa and return to boil. Reduce to medium and cook for 12 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and let rest for 15-18 minutes.
- Add the lime zest and juice and the cilantro. Remove the bay leaf and fluff with a fork. Keep covered until ready to serve.
- In a small saucepan, sauté the onions in the olive oil until softened. Add the garlic and stir for a second then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, discard the bay leaf and keep covered until ready to use.
To assemble bowl
- Start with bed of quinoa, then layer other ingredients as desired in bowl. Really no rules to follow except grain should be on the bottom, and cheese usually is on top of hot ingredients but below cold toppings. Have fun with assembly and enjoy.