Chimichanga! It’s so fun to say! I had a request for a chimichanga video from my buddy Larry. That same week, I had TWO requests for “unhealthy vegetarian food” — a descriptive that makes me smile. A chimichanga is pretty unhealthy, on account of the frying, and the cheese, and also the frying. So I figured a smash-up of both requests would keep everyone happy!
These chimichangas turned out to be mini-chimichangas (or mini-chimis as they say during Happy Hour around local Tex-Mex joints) because I only had taco-sized flour tortillas on hand instead of the big burrito-sized ones that are usually called for. (In case you’re not clear, a chimichanga is a deep-fried burrito.) Either way you want to play it is cool. I kind of like the mini ones. Easier to eat and a higher ratio of crunchy shell:melty cheesy filling. Often in restaurants, they are served drowned in either a warm red chili sauce or a cool creamy cilantro sauce. Sometimes both sauces! Since I don’t keep sour cream on hand, I made my sauce with yogurt, cilantro, and garlic. I think that sauce would also make a good green-goddessy kind of salad dressing, to be frank. It’s pretty dang good.
Like burritos, you can fill chimichangas with anything. Beans and cheese are requirements and I prefer refried beans because they help all the fillings stick together and stay inside the chimi while you’re chowing down. Meats can be anything you desire: shredded chicken, beef picadillo, shredded brisket or roast beef, leftover pork roast, leftover anything. If you’re using leftover meat, shred or chop it fairly small and mix in a little salsa and something creamy to help bind it: cream cheese, sour cream, or ricotta cheese like I did here. Wrap the fillings (don’t overload the tortilla!) up inside like a burrito: bottom, sides, roll it over. Secure with toothpicks. Fry! Fry! FRY! You’re done!Print
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 4
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large portobello mushroom
- 1 jalapeño pepper
- 1/4 cup minced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce or liquid aminos
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup refried beans
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
- 8 standard flour tortillas or 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
- 4-6 cups oil for frying (peanut, corn, canola)
- Creamy sauce:
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 10 stalks cilantro, stems and leaves
- 1 clove garlic
- pinch of salt
- Heat oil in skillet over medium heat.
- Slice portobello thinly, then cut slices in half. Add to skillet with a pinch of salt. Cover and let steam about 2 minutes. Stir in onion, jalapeño, garlic, cumin and oregano and cook another minute until cumin starts to smell toasty. Add soy sauce and bell pepper and cook another 30-60 seconds. Turn off heat. Stir in ricotta. Set aside.
- Warm tortillas on the stove or in the microwave to make them easier to fold. For mini chimis, place about 1 1/2 tablespoons mushroom mix and 1 tablespoon beans in the lower center of the tortilla. Top with 1 tablespoon cheese. Fold like a burrito and thread toothpicks into the seam to hold.
- For large chimis, use about 1/4 cup mushroom and beans, top with a couple tablespoons of cheese and fold up.
- Heat oil (1″ deep for mini chimis; 2″ deep for large chimis) to 360ºF.
- Carefully add chimis, seam-side down, 3-4 at at time. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side until golden.
- Cool on a rack while you make the creamy sauce.
- For sauce: Combine all in a food processor or blender and puree.
- Serve chimichangas with cream sauce and salsa of your choice.