(I had to google Cinco de Mayo, beacuse I was spelling cinco in the french way. Duh. Anyway I learned that Cinco de Mayo is celebrated only regionally in Mexico, mainly in the state of Puebla for when they conqueored the French, so that cinque could always be cinco. Ha! Anyway, I never knew that Cinco de Mayo is actually more of a big deal in America than it is in Mexico. I wouldn't be surprised if St. Patricks Day was more popular in America than it is in Ireland. We Americans are so nostalgic for our forebearers cultures. I wonder why?)
In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I am giving you one of my favorite Mexican-y style food recipes. (well behind salsa!) This is Americanized, so I don't think it strictly qualifies as Mexican. Don't let that stop you though. These are yummy! Also, I have never had a chimichanga in real life, a deep fat fried one, so I wasn't deterred by expectations. I really don't know how they compare to regular Chimichangas. I am happy enough with this! Cooks Country, where this recipe is from, has a new recipe for the deep fat fried ones in the magazine I got a few days ago. I might have to try them. But I don't see the sense in adding all that fat, when these make me perfectly happy.
These pictures aren't great, since the top generally browns more and I used sausage. I wasn't even going to put them up, but I decided that was silly and vain, so here they are.
Oven-Baked Chicken Chimichangas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped fine
1 (16-ounce) can black beans , drained and rinsed
1 (8.8-ounce) package Uncle Ben's Ready Rice
1 rotisserie chicken , skin discarded, meat shredded into bite-sized pieces (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
6 large flour tortillas (10 inch)
1. Place rimmed baking sheet in oven and heat oven to 450 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onion until just softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in beans, rice, chicken, and chipotle and cook until heated through, about 3 minutes. Off heat, stir in cheese and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Stack tortillas on plate and microwave, covered, until pliable, about 1 minute. Top warm tortillas with chicken mixture, leaving 2-inch border at bottom. Fold in sides and roll up tightly. Brush wrapped tortillas with remaining oil and arrange, seam-side down, on preheated baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden, 8 to 10 minutes.
I think ready rice sounds disgusting and I never have it on hand, so I just make regular rice and put in about 9 oz of the stuff. That is about 2 cups. This is also nice, since the kids don't like spicy stuff, but they adore rice with a little butter. The rotisserie chicken is also something I never have on hand, so use whatever chicken you like. Or turkey. Or even sausage, which is what I used last night. Chicken does taste best though, so be warned. The Mexican cheese blend I never have, so I just use cheddar. The flour tortillas work better when you have large ones, but they also work if you have smaller ones, so don't sweat it!
You have to pre-heat the oven AND the baking sheet though. Very important. Otherwise, you wouldn't have that yummy crunchy bit on the bottom. Instead of trying to brush the oil over the top and bottoms of the finick-ily folded chimichangas, I just brush the top and put the rest of the oil on the baking sheet, which crisps the bottom. And if you forget the salt, like I did last night, just salt the top.
I adore these things. I am looking forward to lunch and leftovers.