I spent part of last week in San Antonio, TX, and somehow managed to go my entire visit without having any Mexican or Tex-Mex food! Unless you count the random chips & salsa that were on the table at the place we got margaritas… No, those don’t count. We spent most of our time (and meals) in a conference centre.
It was a very fun and rewarding trip in all other respects, but I left San Antonio with a strong craving for Mexican/Tex-Mex food. Luckily, I was able to spend a couple of hours sightseeing and shopping, and picked up a fun cookbook called Foods and Flavors of San Antonio by Gloria Chadwick. It’s crammed with recipes for the kind of cheesy, spicy, satisfying foods I was craving. The recipe I’m sharing today is adapted (ever so slightly) from her Beef Chimichangas recipe.
A chimichanga is basically a deep fried burrito, but the version I’m sharing today is baked in the oven simply brushed with butter. You still achieve a crispy exterior, but without having to bust out a deep fryer. The insides are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef, spices, garlic and green chiles, providing just the right amount of heat. The chimichangas, once nearly finished baking, are topped with mounds of cheddar cheese and sent back into the oven for all that cheese to melt. Yum.
While these are in no way to be considered “healthy,” I would argue that they are a nice homemade alternative to a restaurant-fried chimichanga. From the original recipe, I subbed whole wheat tortillas, used light sour cream and cut the amount of butter in half. So these may be considered lightened-up, if not necessarily “light.”
Whatever, it’s Mexican food. Grab some chips and salsa, maybe some rice & beans, and sprinkle a handful of shredded iceberg on the side of your plate for the token salad component. You can eat healthy tomorrow; today, the chimichangas are totally worth the splurge.
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 (127 ml) can chopped green chiles (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup light sour cream
- ¼ cup butter, melted
- 6 9-inch whole wheat flour tortillas
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- Salsa or salsa verde, chopped tomatoes, sour cream (for serving, optional)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
- In a medium skillet, combine beef, garlic, cumin, chili powder, oregano, pepper, salt, and green chiles. Cook over medium heat until the meat is browned. Drain any excess fat. Remove pan form heat and stir in sour cream.
- Brush the bottom of a 9x13-inch dish with about ½ of the melted butter.
- Place about ⅓ cup of the filling in the centre of each tortilla. Fold into rectangular packets, as you would fold a burrito. Place packets seam side down in prepared dish. Brush remaining butter over the tops. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until crisp and browned.
- Remove pan from oven and sprinkle chimichangas with cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted, about 2-4 minutes. Serve immediately with desired accompaniments (salsa, salsa verde, sour cream, tomatoes, etc.).
- Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.
Source: Adapted from Foods and Flavors of San Antonio