Thursday, March 3, 2011

Oven-baked Chicken Chimichangas

This Mexican dish is from a blog I used to read regularly called Cooking Ventures. It is filled with lots of great recipes, but the blogger is no longer blogging recipes. Thankfully, all of the recipes are still there. This is one of my favorites because it is a healthier version of Chimichangas. Check out Cooking Ventures at this website:
http://cookingventures.blogspot.com/


Oven-baked Chicken Chimichangas

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt (or 1/4 tsp table salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper
5 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup drained and rinsed black beans
2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro (or baby spinach)
3/4 cup salsa
8 oz freshly shredded monterrey jack cheese
7 flour tortillas (Taco-size, about 8 to 9")
Vegetable oil or olive oil for brushing

Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl, combine the chicken, cumin, oregano, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, scallions, black beans, and cilantro. Add the salsa and cheese. Stir to combine. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Brush 4 tortillas on one side very lightly with water then place them in a stack on a clean kitchen towel. Wrap the towel around the tortillas. Microwave the tortillas for about 25 seconds. This heats the tortillas enough to make them pliable.

Remove one tortilla from the kitchen towel and rewrap the others to keep them warm. Add 1/3 cup of the filling to the center of the tortilla. Wrap the chimichanga like you would a burrito. Fold the left and right sides of the tortilla up over the filling then roll it starting from the bottom to completely enclose the filling. You should not roll the chimi too tightly or the tortilla will tear (or later burst during baking). Place the chimi seam-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the other tortillas – heating additional tortillas in the microwave when needed.


Brush the tops and sides of each chimi with some oil. Bake for 23 to 26 minutes or until the chimis are golden and crispy. Serve with additional salsa, sour cream, or pico de gallo.

Alternative Preparations:
1) Use freshly grated 2% sharp cheddar. Regular cheddar is also tasty but releases a lot of oil when it melts. Pepper jack cheese works great for those who appreciate things on the spicy side. Feeling naughty? Use 12 oz of cheese. It's really tasty that way but increases the caloric content and level of saturated fat considerably.
2) Make it vegetarian! Instead of chicken, add some red bell peppers, corn, and additional black beans.
3) Use whole-wheat or low-carb tortillas.
4) Instead of regular salsa, use salsa verde. It's really tasty this way!

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