At a sleek bar called The Flute in Newport, Rhode Island, one of the locals having dinner there overheard my boyfriend and I talking about where to eat on the last day of our trip. She stopped by where we were sitting on her way out, and gave us quite a few tips, and one was a place called Diego’s that she said her daughter loved going to. We went there for lunch the next day, having had our fill of seafood during the entire trip, and I could see why her daughter would love it. Located on Bowman’s wharf, they serve Mexican inspired dishes with moderate prices to a young, hip crowd among poster-plastered walls and with 80’s music playing overhead. I ordered the spicy lamb burrito and was amazed at how good it was. The spicy ground lamb paired wonderfully with a blend of chopped Mediterranean vegetables, kalamata olives and crunchy shaved brussels sprouts. Surprisingly, there were black beans in the burritos but no rice. It was all wrapped in a flour tortilla and drizzled with tzatziki sauce.
Back home, I decided to recreate the burrito as a rice bowl to make it easier on myself as a work-week meal. I’ve made burritos before but always find the package of flour tortillas sitting in my fridge for weeks, as it’s hard for me to eat burritos every day to use them up, so a rice bowl works better for me. If you want to fill a flour tortilla with the filling instead of serving it over rice, you can.
Spicy Lamb Rice Bowl
1 cup rice, or 2 12-inch flour tortilla
1/4 cup rinsed parsley and/or cilantro leaves
1/2 a large cucumber (use other half in tzatziki sauce, see recipe below)
1 vine-ripened tomato
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
7 brussels sprouts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 Tbs olive oil
1 lb ground lamb (ground beef can also be used)
1/2 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
Make the rice: Place 1 cup rice with 2 cups water and 1/2 tsp salt in a pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a very low simmer, cover, and cook over very low heat for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, and let sit covered for another 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl mix the following: Chopped parsley and/or cilantro, cucumber that has been peeled, seeded and diced, tomato that has been seeded and diced, and coarsely chopped kalamata olives.
Trim brussels sprouts, removing any discolored leaves. Cut each brussels sprout in half, then finely shred and set aside.
Mince the garlic cloves, and mix together in another bowl with all the spices and salt.
In a frying pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Sauté ground lamb or beef until browned. Stir in all spices mixed with the garlic, rinsed black beans and shredded brussels sprouts. Add a splash of water and cook for 5-10 minutes to heat through.
Stir the olive and vegetable mixture into the skillet off the heat.
Serve either over white rice as a rice bowl, or divide mixture in half and fill each of 2 tortilla wraps with it, wrapping into a burrito. Serve with Tzatziki Sauce (below).
I like mine with cucumber and garlic, and my boyfriend likes his with lemon zest and mint, so my recipe for tzatziki has a little of all of that.
1/2 large cucumber, peeled, grated and drained
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 TBS fresh mint, finely chopped
1 tsp lemon juice
zest from half a lemon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill in refrigerator for about 20 minutes or so, to blend flavors.