May 5, 2011

Oven Baked Chicken Chimchangas

It is Cinco de Mayo today. As if you didn't know that. I find it very interesting that Americans get so into celebrating other countries holidays. St. Patricks Day, Cinco de Mayo, Chinese New Year, Oktoberfests, etc. Mostly, I think it has more to do with Americans desire to get drunk during the week than actually paying tribute to those cultures. But it is mostly all in good fun! So go ahead, feel slightly Mexican today.

(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
Serves 6

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.

That is me copying and pasting from Cooks because I am lazy. I will now give you tips, hints, and technique. Pretty much, I will let you know what you can substitute or change. I generally don't have the perfect ingredients on hand, so recipies have to be flexible or else, they are pointless for me. The recipe adherers in my life tell me that recipies are scientific and you can't just slosh in what ever you like, willy nilly. And this is true. I have made very inferior stuff, assuming that a little of this will compensate for none of that. But generally it works all right.

There is no getting around the onion, black beans, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, salt and pepper, and oil. You have to have them, so just buy them if they aren't pantry staples in your house. 

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.


Rebekah said...

Sounds yummy and delicious! I wanted to do something Mexican, but I only had the side dish planned. I dug in the freezer and found Thai Peanut Chicken. So that's what we'll have instead. :)

Virginia said...

Fun fact: cinque (pronounced Cheen-qway) is 5 in Italian as well. Most be a romance language thing. I was planning on making something totally awesome, but then Matt made plans w/ his friends to go out to a local Mexican food place instead. Mexican food in WV is as good as it sounds. Not very. :-) I much prefer making something better. Ah well. Anyways, this post really cracked me up. I love your cooking style!! And I think you made this for Mary and I for lunch once. Or maybe when Ver and Lindsey were up. I don't remember the situation, but I do remember the food and that's all that counts, right?? Oh, and deep fried chimichangas are good, but the grossness of eating something so big that was deep friend kind of negates the good. Although that's restaurant fried and fried things from home are always better. So there ya have it.

Virginia said...

Oh, and ready rice is totally disgusting. But oh-so-handy when you don't get out of work until 6:30 pm and you want to eat the countertop you're so hungry. Ready rice > countertop. Also, disregard my horrendously numerous typos.

Cecil and Amy said...

Thanks for the idea. Cecil and I went out to eat at our wonderful local Mexican restaurant tonight!

Evan and Clover and Co. said...

"Are the Jimmy Changas ready yet?" Do you know, I have yet to have tasted these? WHY DO YOU LIVE THREE HOURS AWAY?

Connie said...

So I made these and YUMMM! I had all the ingredients on hand, even the chipolte peppers in adobe sauce (because I use them for this awsome spicy sausage chipolte lasagna I should put on here) Anyway, I just added chopped up peppers (jalapeno,green and red) and a few choice spices which you probably have to steer clear from considering the kids. . .Tucker's taste buds are probably numb now considering I'm a spicy freak and he just has to deal with it hahaha. Anyway, they were awesome. Mine looked the same as yours pretty much, which I think makes them even tastier because they have that crunch on one side and the softer part on the other. So WIN WIN, best of both worlds. I would press the like button if the blog allowed it.