Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chimichangas Chez Boz

Hello my fellow chefs! Tonight I will reveal to you one of my favorite recipes, one which is sure to delight you and those with whom you share your living space. I learned how to make chimichangas from Megan and Jill Carle's excellent book College Cooking. This recipe is based off of theirs. It is also vegetarian, but you can make it carnivorous if you want, just sub out the can of beans and some cheese for a pound of ground beef or turkey. This recipe makes 9 chimichangas - 10 if you don't eat as much of the filling as I did before frying them. They're great to freeze. When you're ready to defrost just pop it in the oven until it's nice and crispy.


4 cloves garlic
1 onion
1 bell pepper
1 160z jar salsa
10" tortillas (probably ten)
1 can refried beans (or make your own!)
1 can red/black/pinto beans (leave this out if you're using beef)
4 scallions, green ends removed and reserved for broth
~2 cups cheese
1 thai pepper (SEEDED.)
white pepper
dash cumin
olive oil (if veggie, put a decent amount in the wok, if meat, just a dash, 'cause the beef makes its own nice oil as it cooks)
a lot of canola oil

Wok or equivalent sized skillet
Skillet or frying pan with a goodly sized rim
Knife/cutting board
Wooden spoon
Paper towels

Views from a Train by Richard Wylie, and Richard Goode playing Beethoven's Piano Sonatas Opp. 109-111. If you haven't heard those late sonatas, grab a copy and go listen RIGHT NOW! I don't care if you don't like classical music! This stuff rocks out.

1. Preparation Cut up onion and bell pepper into 1/4-1/2" chunks, finely chop the garlic, dice the scallions, and seed the thai or other spicy pepper. If you use a different pepper you may need to use more, or less, depending on the kind. One thai pepper was enough to make 9 chimichangas pleasantly spicy for us three. And may I emphasize, do remove the seeds or you will find your dish inedible!!!

2. The filling Put some olive oil in a wok, heat it up to medium-high and saute the garlic and spicy pepper for just a moment to let the flavors come out, then add the onion, green pepper, and scallions, and saute this for a bit until the onions are starting to get translucent, just a few minutes. If you are a carnivore, add the beef with the onion and green pepper and cook until the beef is brown. If you are not, add the drained can of beans, some salt and a dash of cumin, and some white pepper. I didn't keep track of how much white pepper I used, but it was a goodly bit. Just keep adding it to the filling at your leisure, until it tastes good. Though don't add too much of the pepper until the very end of this step. What you want to do now is cook the veggie/bean mixture until the onions and green pepper are soft enough to be appetizing, but not soggy, because that's lame. So keep tasting them. It should be maybe 7 or 8 minutes, with you stirring constantly to keep stuff from sticking to the bottom. When the veggies are cooked (or the beef is no longer pink anywhere), throw in your jar of salsa and let that cook for about a minute, then turn off the heat and add the refried beans and your cheese, and stir that around for a while until it's all mixed together. At this point, taste it and it probably will need some more salt, so go ahead and add that and any more white pepper if it needs it. You could also add more cumin if you wanted a more robust flavor. I figured it was already so heavy with the beans and cheese it didn't need any more fortification.

3. The chimichanga Go get out your tortillas and put about 3 large wooden spoonfuls of filling into each of them, then fold them over like the pros do and set them into a nice chimichanga pyramid. Your next step will be to fill a skillet with canola oil - you want a lake about 1/4" deep to fry these babies in. Heat the oil to just under high heat - I used a setting of 8 on a 1-9 burner scale. You probably shouldn't test it with water to see if it's hot enough, unless you want blazing hot canola oil spattering everywhere. Just wait a bit and feel the heat above it with the back of your hand. Then place in the first chimichanga. It should start sizzling nicely. Let it cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side, until it's nicely golden but not so much that it starts blackening. Turn it over with the tongs and be super careful not to let it splash down and spray oil on you. I did this once and got a nasty blister living on my thumb for a while. When it's done, take it out of the frying pan - I actually put two chimichangas in at one time because of the pan's size - and let it dry on a paper towel to get some of that grease out. When it's done drying, set it aside on your cutting board and while it's drying stick in some more chimichangas. Keep doing this until they're all nice and crispy.

And you're done! This goes nice with a little caesar salad to balance the heavy fried goodness of the chimichanga. Mm, very filling, and so tasty. Couldn't hurt to have a nice brown ale with it, too. Me, I just had some ginger ale because I was feeling a bit under the weather. Sabor!

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