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10 May, 2016

How To Make All The Best Parts Of The Chipotle Menu

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Here’s How To Make All The Best Parts Of The Chipotle Menu

Making your own version of every meat on the Chipotle menu means unlimited, 24/7 access to carnitas, steak, and barbacoa — which is GREAT.

Making your own version of every meat on the Chipotle menu means unlimited, 24/7 access to carnitas, steak, and barbacoa — which is GREAT.

Also great? How damn easy it all is.

And that’s why I decided to re-create the recipes from Chipotle’s entire menu, including ~all of the meats~ (and the sofritos) below. This way, you feast on all of it — whenever and wherever you want.

But first, quick things to know about these recipes:

• They are not, I repeat, NOT certified Chipotle recipes. These recipes are very, very close approximations, inspired by Chipotle — that I came to after testing, re-testing, and testing again.

• They are designed to be easy for you to make at home so you never have to leave your house ever again. (Except, you know, to get the ingredients.)

• They are extremely delicious and you’ll want to make them again and again.

1. CARNITAS

CARNITAS

Carnitas is pork that has been braised or simmered for a really long time until it’s basically falling apart. Some places will then fry this shredded meat in *more fat* until it’s kinda crispy, but that’s not how they roll at Chipotle.

This is a super-easy version where you season boneless pork shoulder, sear it, braise it, shred it, and eat it (all of it). You can use the final result in just about anything: from a rice bowl to porky white bean stew.

To make it: Season pork all over with salt and pepper, then sear it on all sides in a large Dutch oven. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaves, and some water.

Then cover and let it do its thing for about four and a half hours.

For the full recipe and step-by-step instructions, jump to the bottom of this post.

THEN SHRED IT. I like to just use two forks and just kinda really get in there.

A whole pot of porky possibilities.

2. BARBACOA

BARBACOA

Barbacoa, which translates to “barbecue,” is basically any meat (typically beef) that is cooked low and slow until it’s basically falling apart and shreddable.

This, too, is a super-easy season-sear-braise-shred-eat situation. This version calls for brisket, which is one of the best meats you can braise. It’s seasoned, seared, and slowly cooked with garlic and smoked chipotle chiles. Because Chipotle.

The best part of this braised brisket is that you can turn it into anything you want. Chili? Sure. Pulled brisket sandwiches? Yes, would eat.

To make it: Season the meat all over with salt and pepper. Sear it in a large pot until browned on both sides, then add chipotle, garlic, and some water.

Lauren Zaser/ BuzzFeed

Cover and let it do its thing for about four hours. You can tell the barbacoa is done when it’s easily shreddable with a fork — it should literally just start falling apart.

Then shred it up. Again, I’m into two forks, but if tongs are more your style, go for it.

Have you ever seen anything more gorgeous in your entire life?

*dives in*

3. CHICKEN

CHICKEN

This chicken gets super browned, kinda crispy, and really delicious thanks to a marinade of — wait for it — chipotle!

Using boneless, skinless chicken thighs is totally the move here because they’ve got more flavor than leaner cuts, but without the skin and bones to deal with.

To make it: Season chicken with salt, then add chipotle chiles and toss to coat everything evenly.

Cover and chill for at least two hours.

Cook the chicken in a large skillet over medium-high heat until it’s charred and browned on both sides.

That’ll take about about five minutes per side. Let rest a few minutes, then cut into bite-size pieces.

Return all the chicken to the skillet and cook it over medium-high heat until the little bits of chicken get all evenly coated and browned in the chipotle marinade, just a few minutes.

Return all the chicken to the skillet and cook it over medium-high heat until the little bits of chicken get all evenly coated and browned in the chipotle marinade, just a few minutes.

Why cook then cut then cook again? Cooking the chicken in large pieces *then* cutting is WAY easier/cleaner than trying to dice raw chicken.

4. STEAK

STEAK

For these steaks, no need to ball out of control here. You don’t want anything too thick or expensive, so a simple, cheap-ish cut like sirloin will work wonderfully.

To make it: Season steak with salt and pepper, then place in a resealable Ziploc bag with chopped chipotles and let it sit for two hours.

Then cook the steak in a skillet until it’s deeply browned on both sides, about five to eight minutes. (If you have a grill, go ahead and GRILL IT UP. And invite me over so I can use your grill.)

A word of caution: This marinade can be ~spicy~, which means when it hits the skillet, it might cause some spicy smoke that could irritate you or other innocent bystanders. It’s nothing crazy, but you should definitely open a window.

Let the steak rest a few minutes, then cut into small, bite-size pieces.

5. SOFRITOS

SOFRITOS

The word “sofrito” refers to many different things depending on what country you’re in. Generally speaking, it’s a mixture of finely chopped vegetables (onions, peppers, garlic) that are cooked in oil until soft and delicious.

This is then used as the base for many soups, stews, braises, and other dishes.

At Chipotle, it refers to all that, but it also adds tomato, spices, chipotle chiles, and fried tofu. It’s the vegetarian option (and these are actually VEGAN) but it’s also one of the best things on the menu, IMO.

The hardest part of this operation is actually frying the tofu — but it’s not scary, and I will show you exactly how to do it.

To make it: Start by frying the tofu. Cut the slab in half horizontally, then cut lengthwise into strips.

Then slice again, making perfect little cubes of tofu.

Heat oil in a large skillet until it’s really hot. Gently add tofu and let it fry until it’s golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels and season with salt.

If the tofu is sticking to the bottom of the skillet, it means it’s not quite ready to release — give it another minute or so.

Next, cook tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and garlic in a large skillet. Season with salt and cook until vegetables begin to soften, then add chipotle pepper and cumin.

Cook until the vegetables are totally soft and most of the liquid has evaporated, five to eight minutes. It should resemble something like a salsa out of the jar.

Using your hands, break the tofu up into tiny pieces, then add it to the tomato mixture.

Season with salt and cook over medium heat until everything in the skillet is all evenly coated and starting to brown again, about five minutes.

Got all that? Now go forth and DIY Chipotle all day, every day.

Got all that? Now go forth and DIY Chipotle all day, every day.

CARNITAS

Recipe by Alison Roman
Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless pork shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
4 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325°.
Season pork shoulder all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Sear pork until it’s golden brown on all sides, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Add 2 cups water to the pot, along with garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.

Cover with a lid (or aluminum foil if you don’t have one/lost it) and cook until it’s completely tender and falling apart, 3 to 4 hours.

Remove from oven and using two forks, shred pork in the pot to bite-size pieces, mixing it with all that wonderful liquid. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.

DO AHEAD:
Carnitas can be made five days ahead, kept refrigerated and chilled. You can *also* freeze it in Ziploc bags for up to two months.

 

BARBACOA

Recipe by Alison Roman
Serves 6

INSTRUCTIONS
2 ½ pounds of brisket (one large piece)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 can chipotle en adobo, chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 325°.
Season brisket with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear brisket until it’s really browned on both sides. Add chopped chipotle en adobo (plus any sauce), garlic, and 2 cups of water.

Cover and place in the oven and braise until brisket is ridiculously tender, 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours. You can check it to see if it’s done by piercing it with a fork — the meat should just fall apart.

Remove from oven, and using two forks (or tongs, or whatever you like), shred the meat into bite-size pieces, mixing it all up with any liquid left in the pot.

DO AHEAD: Barbacoa can be made five days ahead, kept wrapped and refrigerated. You can *also* freeze it in Ziploc bags for up to two months.

 

CHICKEN

Recipe by Alison Roman
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
½ can chipotle en adobo, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Place in a large Ziploc bag or bowl and add chopped chipotles. Toss everything to coat the chicken evenly. Cover and chill at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear chicken on both sides until golden brown and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes per side.

Using tongs or a spatula, remove chicken and let cool for a few minutes.
Chop into bite-size pieces and return to skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring pretty frequently, until all the bits are kinda browned and coated in all that chipotle amazingness, about 4 minutes.

DO AHEAD:
Chicken can be marinated 1 day ahead.

 

STEAK

Recipe by Alison Roman
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ pounds top sirloin steak, ½-inch thick (about 2 steaks or one large steak)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 canned chipotle peppers en adobo, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS
Season steak with salt and pepper. Place in a large Ziploc bag or bowl and toss with chipotle peppers to coat. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear steak on both sides until browned but still pink inside, about 4 minutes per side.

Remove steak and let cool a few minutes. Chop into bite-size pieces before serving.

DO AHEAD: Steak can be marinated 1 day ahead.

 

SOFRITOS

Recipe by Alison Roman
Serves 4

INGREDIENTS
1 pound firm tofu, drained (1 package)
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
½ small onion, finely chopped
½ bell pepper, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 canned chipotle en adobo, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin

DIRECTIONS
Cut tofu slab into small cubes and pat dry.

Heat oil in a large skillet (non-stick works especially well here) over medium-high heat. Add tofu and toss to coat. (There might be some light splattering, so be careful!) Fry tofu until it’s golden brown and crispy on one side, about 5 minutes. Toss and continue to cook until the tofu is crisped and browned on all sides, another 5 or so minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove tofu and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate and season with salt.

In that same skillet (no need to wipe out — you want to keep that residual oil), add tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Add the chipotle and cumin and toss to coat. Cook until the vegetables are totally softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 8 minutes. (The mixture should look kind of like salsa from a jar.)

Meanwhile, using your hands, tear tofu into teeny bite-size pieces.
Add tofu to skillet with vegetables and toss to coat. Season with salt and cook until everything is well combined and the mixture starts to brown on the bottom, just a few minutes.

DO AHEAD: Tofu mixture can be made five days ahead, covered and refrigerated.

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