Technically, to be a chimichanga, the tortilla needs to be deep fried in oil. These crispy beef and cheese stuffed tortillas get their crunch in the oven with a light mist of cooking spray. You get a satisfyingly crunchy exterior with way less fat, and they are so much easier to make at home. I’m betting no one will call your Chimichanga bluff, because they’ll be too busy devouring them to notice.
You can also make these chimichangas with shredded chicken and they are equally delicious.
This recipe is super straightforward and easy. Start by browning a pound of lean ground beef. When the beef is halfway browned, add the salsa.
Kind of a random discovery, but I really like the taste of Target’s Archer Farms Restaurant-Style Salsa.
Along with the salsa, add diced onion, beans, oregano, cumin, and salt.
Then you let it simmer for 25 minutes so the flavors meld and the liquid evaporates. Done. Then you scoop little portions onto tortillas and top with cheese.
Then you fold it!
Next, place all your cute little chimichanga soldiers on a baking sheet coated with non-stick spray. Then spray the tops of the chimichangas with more non-stick spray.
I use white and whole wheat tortillas because this family likes their choices.
Then they go in the oven for a total of 13 minutes (turned once), and they come out looking beautifully brown.
Top these babies with salsa, and sour cream…maybe almost as much sour cream as there is chimichanga…not that I would know anything about that.
Lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and black olives are all excellent topping choices.
And now we eat.
Baked Beef (or Chicken) Chimichangas
1 lb lean* ground beef (or 2 chicken breast, cooked and shredded)
1 (16-ounce) jar salsa, divided
1 can pinto beans (or black beans), drained and rinsed
1 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt, or more, to taste
11 (8-inch) flour or whole wheat tortillas
8 oz shredded colby jack cheese
Toppings: avocado or guacamole, sour cream, shredded lettuce, diced tomato
Begin to brown the beef in a dutch oven, season with salt and pepper.
When beef is half way cooked, add 1 1/2 cups salsa and next 5 ingredients (Begin with cooked, shredded chicken if using instead of beef).
Cook, uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring often, 25 minutes or until most of liquid evaporates.
Spoon 1/3 cup of mixture just below the center of each tortilla; top with 2 tablespoons cheese. Fold in 2 sides of tortillas to enclose filling. Fold bottom edge up and over filling and tuck in, making a rectangle.
Place chimichanga folded side down, on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Mist tops of chimichangas with more cooking spray.
Bake at 425° for 8 minutes; turn and bake 5 more minutes or until golden all around.
Top with remaining salsa and desired toppings.
*You can use ground chuck but there with be more fat/liquid which can sometimes make the tortillas soggy.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated