El Pollo Loco is probably my favorite fast food restaurant of all times. Marinated, grilled chicken with yummy rice, beans and tortillas. It doesn't get any better than that. Unfortunately for me, the nearest one is about 30 miles from me (insert sad face here).
Luckily for me, the basic recipe for my favorite treat, the pollo bowl, is pretty easy to replicate at home.
All you need is grilled chicken, mexican rice, pinto beans, onions and SALSA. Lots of salsa.
Start with some citrus marinade like the ones you can find here or here. Marinate 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts for at least 4 hours, preferably over night.
Next, make your Mexican rice. I make mine in my rice steamer. If you've ever made Mexican rice, you know it can be kind of tricky to do on the stove top. Making it in the rice steamer is fast, easy and almost fool-proof. Here is how I do it.
2 Cups Long Grain Rice- rinsed and drained.
1 Can Rotel Tomatoes with Mild Green Chiles
1 Can Low Sodium Chicken Broth
2 tsp Minced Garlic
1/2 White Onion, chopped.
Heat 2 teaspoons Olive Oil in your Rice Steamer. When hot, add your rice and "fry" it slightly until the translucency changes, stirring frequently. Add your onions and garlic and continue to cook slightly. When the onions are soft, add the Rotel Tomatoes.
Now, depending on your Rice Steamer directions add the chicken broth to the appropriate mark on your cooker. For instance, my directions say for 2 cups of rice, add water to slightly above the 2 cup mark (this isn't actually an accurate 2 cups, it's just the reference line used by the manufacturer. I've found with the Mexican rice, that if I hit to exactly on the 2 cup line the rice comes out better and not mushy due to the extra fluid in the tomatoes.
Set your steamer for the recommended settings (on mine, I just hit the 'white rice' button). Approximately half way through, open your lid and stir the contents quickly then allow the rice to finish cooking.
While your rice is cooking, fire up the BBQ and grill those chicken breasts. When done, let the chicken rest for a few minutes and then cut in to bite sized pieces.
For the beans, I use a can of pinto beans that I have simmered with a small amount of garlic until the juice starts to thicken up.
Layer your bowls with rice, followed by beans and topped with some chicken. Add a bit of salsa (I prefer a pico de gallo), chopped onions, cilantro or what ever else strikes your fancy to the top. This will make 6 generous servings.
This is a fast family favorite around here. Left overs reheat well for a low fat and flavorful lunch at work.