A copycat recipe for the beloved chicken chimichangas from the now closed Chi-Chi’s restaurant. This version is baked rather than fried and calls for using shredded rotisserie chicken, a great shortcut that makes this another quick and easy meal.
I used what I had on hand – grilled chicken and sauteed it with onion, garlic and jalapeno along with smoky spices like chile powder and cumin to make the filling. Refried beans go down first on a flour tortilla, adding a delicious creaminess to them. The beans are followed by the chicken mixture and cheese. They go in the oven for a quick bake where the tortilla transforms into this crunchy, flaky wrapper that we all loved, thanks to the vegetable oil and butter mixture that gets brushed over top. The mexi-sauce finishes it off with a little kick of green chile heat. My Mom said these were the best thing she’s eaten in a month and that’s saying a lot because we’ve had some pretty decent meals.
Chi Chi’s Chicken Chimichangas
(adapted from Food Network)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove seeds for less heat)
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
sea or kosher salt
1 small tomato, chopped, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken or cooked chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
1/4 cup sour cream, plus more for serving
1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
4 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese, plus more for topping
Mexi-sauce, for topping (recipe below)
Shredded lettuce, for topping
Mexican rice, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Melt the butter with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet; transfer to a bowl. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno, cook over medium-low heat until soft. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt; toast 30 seconds. Add the tomato and cilantro and cook until slightly dry, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and sour cream and warm through. Remove from the heat.
2. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with some of the butter-oil mixture. Spread 2 tablespoons refried beans down the center of each tortilla, leaving a 2-inch border on both ends. Top with 1 cup chicken mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Fold in the ends and roll up.
3. Put the chimichangas seam-side down on the baking sheet; brush with the butter-oil mixture. Bake 8 to 10 minutes per side, brushing again after you flip. Top with the sauce, more cheese, lettuce and tomato. Serve with rice and the remaining beans.
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of each: chile powder, cumin, sugar and salt
2 (4 ounce) cans green chiles, drained and rinsed
1 cup chicken broth
Saute 1/2 cup chopped onion and 2 chopped garlic cloves in a skillet over medium-low with heat in a tablespoon or two of vegetable/olive oil. Add a pinch each of chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt; cook 30 seconds. Stir in two 4-ounce cans chopped green chiles and cook 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth and simmer until thickened, then puree. Stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.