- Jerome: What are you cooking for us tonight, honey!?
- Me: Chimichangaaaaaaas!
- Jerome: Really?!!! You know it’s Deadpool’s favorite food and the movie is coming out today, right?! You know that, don’t you? So you’re doing this for me?! Are you? How nice of you!!! Thank you!
- Me: Eeeehhh… Yeah, sweetie, sure…!
The truth is I had no freaking clue!
But I had planned to try this recipe for a few weeks already, and had coincidentally picked tonight as the night, so now there were even less chances that I’d dropped the idea – the husband is too happy, and I’d risk a diplomatic incident in-da-house if I were to make different plans for dinner!
People from the currently cold hemisphere, turn up your heater at home or at the office, and comfortably sit next to me: we’re flying to Tucson, Arizona! Why, will you ask. Because according to ONE source, this is where the delicious Chimichanga originated, and I chose to believe it’s true! It’s not because one single person stands for his story/opinion and everyone else believes something else, that this single person is necessarily wrong. Yes, stand for your own idea, you darer! As for myself, I’m simply standing UP in my little kitchen and beginning to cook a real local Chimichanga from Arizona in order to complete my World Food Challenge of the night.
For the story, better than paraphrasing Wiki, is quoting Wiki. “According to one source, the founder of the Tucson, Arizona, restaurant “El Charro”, Monica Flin, accidentally dropped a pastry into the deep fat fryer in 1922. She immediately began to utter a Spanish curse-word beginning “chi…” (chingada), but quickly stopped herself and instead exclaimed chimichanga, a Spanish equivalent of “thingamajig”. Woody Johnson, founder of Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen, claims he invented the chimichanga in 1946 when he put some burritos into a deep fryer as an experiment at his original restaurant Woody’s El Nido. These “fried burritos” became so popular that by 1952, when Woody’s El Nido became Macayo’s, the chimichanga was one of the restaurant’s main menu items. Johnson opened Macayo’s in 1952. Although no official records indicate when the dish first appeared, retired University of Arizona folklorist Jim Griffith recalls seeing chimichangas at the Yaqui Old Pascua Village in Tucson in the mid-1950s.”
Arizonian cuisine is, like the rest of the US Southwestern cuisine, influenced a lot by Mexican food. Now when you really talk “local foods of Arizona” that are reflecting what the soil gives its people and what these people like to eat as specialty foods, we talk Cactus syrup/jellies/marmalade, Mesquite flour based pancakes, or Navajo-Churro lamb.
I’ve never had true Chimichangas from Arizona before (or truly from anywhere else), so I’ve made up my mind and decided that I’ll definitely make it my World Food Challenge for tonight’s dinner. I’m sure there was no suspense for you, as you surely have read the title of my post beforehand. My version is with chicken, but you could use beef instead, both are used in Arizona. Vegetarians could take the meat out and replace it with whatever other ingredient suits their diet I guess, as long as it has a little consistency in terms of texture, otherwise the wrap could get soggy at some point.
I already apologize to the purists, because Chimichanga traditionally is a deep-fried burrito, but I’m going to commit a crime here and bake it in the oven instead, to make it healthier. Much healthier. And I’ll tell you my trick to keep it crunchy and crispy as it should be.
All ingredients of the stuffing are fresh and healthy, besides it’s the favorite food of Deadpool, so I can’t see how this could not make you all happy, healthy and content!
- 2 cups (about 250 grams) of pulled chicken
- 1 cup of fresh salsa made of diced tomatoes, bell pepper and avocado
- a small handful of green leaves or lettuce (up to your liking)
- 1 tsp of cumin
- 1/2 tsp of dried oregano
- 1 cup of shredded Cheddar cheese
- 1 large scallions, chopped
- 6 flour tortillas
- 2 tbsp of melted butter to brush the tortillas before baking and make them crispy
- toppings: homemade guacamole, diced tomatoes, sour cream (or in my case thick Greek yogurt for a lighter and healthier version)
- extra toppings commonly used in Arizona but that i did not add here: your favorite salsa, more shredded cheese
- Pull or shred the chicken and prepare the salsa with all the diced vegetables.
- Chop the scallions and combine to the salsa, along with cumin and oregano.
- Place the shredded Cheddar cheese on the center of each tortilla, and top with green leaves or lettuce.
- Scoop about 3 generous tablespoons of your preparation and place over the greens.
- Fold the tortillas and place them on a baking sheet on the baking tray of your oven, seam-side down.
- Brush the tortillas with butter so that they come out of the oven nicely golden and crispy!
- Bake in the oven at 180 to 185 degrees C. according to your own oven performance (or 400 F.) for about 25 minutes (check the coloring).
- Serve with the desired toppings as suggested in the ingredients list.
Don’t forget to check out my cookbook’s page for more recipes to cook at home! If you prefer staying on the blog, maybe check out my Crunchwraps from California or else my Schnitzel with Alabama BBQ White Sauce! They are both fingerlicking-good!
Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi, © 2016 All Rights Reserved.