Oct 26 10
by cara
at 3:44 PM
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Chi-Chi’s Chimichangas

After this recipe, y’all are going to think that I only cook Mexican food (actually Tex-Mex) and sweets!  Tex-Mex IS my favorite type of food and since there is so much variety within that category, we usually have Tex-Mex once a week.  This recipe is a recreation of the famous chimichangas from the Tex-Mex chain Chi-Chi’s, which closed the last of its 65 restaurants in 2004.   Did you ever visit Chi-Chi’s?  Did you ever try their chimichangas?  I didn’t (and I’m not even sure if there was one in Houston), but I wanted to try this recipe all the same.

There are several things about this recipe that make it a star.  The cooking technique for the chimichangas (baked, brushed with oil and butter) keep them from being too greasy like a typically fried chimichanga, and get the flour tortilla nice and crispy.  The filling has amazing flavor with hints of fire-roasted tomatoes (okay, that was my own substitution), fresh cilantro, and a hint of cinnamon.  And last but not least is that delicious Mexi-sauce on top which is creamy and zesty and just perfect with the chimichangas.  I used a store-bought rotisserie this week because I was feeling lazy, but Crockpot Mexican Chicken would be just perfect for this!

One other note about the tortillas and filling instructions.  I used made-fresh-at-the-store tortillas instead of making my own, and since my tortillas were smaller than 10″, I had to cut back my filling drastically (which I learned the hard way).  So keep that in mind.

Chi-Chi’s Chimichangas

adapted from from Food Network Magazine, October 2010

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 15-oz can refried beans
  • 4 10-inch flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese, plus more for topping
  • Mexi-sauce, for topping (see recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet; transfer to a bowl.  Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet.  Add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon salt; toast 30 seconds.  Add the tomato and cilantro and cook until slightly dry, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the chicken and sour cream and warm through.  Remove from the heat.

Brush a rimmed baking sheet with some of the butter-oil mixture.  Spread 2 tablespoons refried beans down the center of each tortilla, leaving a 2-inch border on both ends.  Top with 1 cup chicken mixture and 1/4 cup cheese.  Fold in the ends and roll up.

Put the chimichangas seam-side down on the baking sheet; brush with the butter-oil mixture.  Bake 8 to 10 minutes per side, brushing again after you flip.  Top with the sauce and more cheese.  Serve with remaining beans and Mexican Rice.

Chi-Chi’s Mexi-sauce

Saute 1/2 cup chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves in a skillet with vegetable oil.  Add a pinch each of chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt; cook 30 seconds.  Stir in two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles, cook 2 minutes.  Add 1 cup chicken broth and simmer until thickened, then puree.  Stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.

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