17 February 2011

Double Take: Krista's Kitchen's Baked Chimichangas

Messy, delicious, naked enchiladas! 

Welcome to the new and improved Double Take challenges! For the foreseeable future, we'll be picking recipes from some of our favorite blogs to make and review for you! I'm also willing to take requests, so if there is a recipe that you'd like to see reviewed, please send me an email at fabfunfood AT gmail DOT com. 

For eating out, Mexican food is my ultimate comfort food. My parents and their friends meet at this one Mexican place every week, so whenever I go visit, I’m sure to join them. They’ve been going there for so long that I don’t feel like I’ve gone to visit my parents unless I go there, too. Which has made Mexican food comfort food. It’s homey, it’s delicious, and when I’m with my parents, it’s free to me! Yes, it’s true, I’m not yet old enough for me not to enjoy getting a free meal. Particularly when it comes with free margaritas!

One thing that I always love to order is the chimichangas. For a while there, I had a love/hate relationship with the chimichangas. You see, this particular restaurant served them topped with enchilada sauce. And frankly, I wasn’t a fan of the sauce. Then, about ten years ago, I had a brilliant idea. We’d already been going there so often that no one batted an eye when we changed up a order. So I ordered my chimichangas with burrito sauce instead of enchilada sauce. I had a discovered the perfect dish! I don’t order the chimichangas every time I go in, but I did start something. Whenever someone in my parents’ group orders the chimichangas, they frequently ask for burrito sauce instead of enchilada sauce.

Bender grew up in Texas, so I didn’t get much Mexican food when we lived in Winston-Salem. It just wasn’t good enough for him so far from the border. Winston-Salem does have a plethora of Mexican places, but not all of them are good. By the time we’d left I’d found a good one, but it was so far out from our normal stomping grounds that we rarely went. We certainly didn’t go once a week, which is the rate at which I like to minimally consume Mexican food. Living in Germany has made us appreciate Americanized Mexican food even more. Germanized Mexican food does not have  pinto beans. Or black beans. Or much cheese. And the cheese sauce comes out of a tube… like movie theater nacho cheese sauce. There is a time and a place for movie theater nacho cheese sauce, but that’s in a movie theater, not on my burrito.

About a year ago, some stores in Jena started carrying “Old El Paso” products, namely, tortillas (taco and burrito sized), refried beans, salsa, and fajita kits. I love refried beans, so that was perfect for me! So now I make my restaurant comfort food at home. (Their salsa here is terrible, so I stick with Doritos brand salsa.) To be honest, I make tacos about once a week. It’s quick, easy, and delicious. Occasionally I try to mix things up and make enchiladas (with flour tortillas of course), but I get the same response from Bender every time: I don’t really like enchiladas all that much. Hrumph. So when I saw this recipe on Krista’s Kitchen, I realized it was time to try something that wasn’t enchiladas. Though the baked chimichangas do look suspiciously like naked enchiladas since the sauce is on the side instead of cooked on top. And since it’s a flour tortilla, well, it really is a naked version of my enchiladas. But that wasn’t going to stop me from trying them!

Crispy outside... except for the sides that were touching each other.

Baked Chimichangas (or Naked Enchiladas)
adapted from Krista’s Kitchen, original recipe here

2 cups salsa (I used Doritos hot* salsa, but I’m think that’s a Europe-only product)
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon oregano
4 cups cooked chicken breast (I poached mine in chicken broth)
7 burrito-sized flour tortillas
1 ½ cups cheddar, shredded, plus extra for serving
1 recipe sauce (see below)

Simmer the first 4 ingredients. Meanwhile shred the chicken. Add the chicken to the simmering salsa mixture, making sure to fully coat all of the chicken. Add more salsa if needed, and simmer until chicken is warmed through and most of the liquid has evaporated. Place ¾ cup of the mixture on each tortilla. Top with 4 tablespoons of cheddar. Roll up. Place seam side down in a baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Serve hot, topped with sauce and cheese.

1 cup chicken broth
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup all-purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half (I used ¾ cup low fat milk and ¼ cup of cream)
¼ cup salsa

Boil chicken broth, jalapenos, and pepper for 5 minutes to soften the peppers. Mix flour and half-and-half until smooth. Stir into the broth. Cook and stir until thickened. Add salsa. 

* Even though I used hot salsa, the final product did not make my lips tingle at all. However, feel free to use mild salsa if you are averse to heat. 

Hey, it’s a naked enchilada! I somehow managed to dirty up a LOT of dishes, but that’s not the recipe’s fault. I decided it would be brilliant to mix the milk and flour in a jar with a lid, but managed to pick out a jar that was way too small the first time around. And I decided to make my sauce in the same pot that I’d cooked the chicken in, but didn’t want to pour the extra broth down the sink so I put it in several more jars. So my kitchen looked like a disaster when I was finished, but that’s what the electric dishwasher is for, right? I couldn’t fit seven chimichangas in my 9x13-ish, so I needed two dishes for that, but since the sauce is not cooked on the chimichangas, they were both super easy to clean by hand (I’d run out of space in my dishwasher).

Bender and The Dude were both in the kitchen while I was cooking, so all the cheese mysteriously disappeared before the chimichangas were served, so we were unable to top our chimichangas with extra cheese. Bender tasted the sauce and opted not to have any, whereas The Dude smothered his chimichangas beyond recognition with the sauce. Me? I found it a little boring, but the extra moisture was needed. Perhaps canned green chiles would have been better (that is what Krista recommended)? Or cheese incorporated into the sauce? Krista made her sauce as a fat-free sauce, so extra cheese would not have worked for her, but if you aren’t interested in counting fat, I think it would be a great addition.

I’ve decided to rename the Baked Chimichangas: Naked Enchiladas. They did not remind me of the chimichangas that are the staple of my Mexican Comfort Food, but they are really delicious. It turned out this recipe was a perfect compromise for me and Bender, and that made us both incredibly happy. The Dude took one bit and said, "If I believed in comfort food, your cooking would be my comfort food!" 

I did write the recipe with more cheese than I actually used. When I was adding the cheese, I kept thinking that Krista’s recommendation (2 tablespoons) looked like way more than enough, even though Tabitha had told me she’d use more cheese next time. I should have listened to Tabitha (as usual). Oh, and I read Krista’s recipe incorrectly. She called for ½ teaspoon of oregano, but somehow I read 2 teaspoons, so I added a whole tablespoon because I had increased the chicken from her recipe as well, and I found the extra oregano to be a wonderful surprise in the Naked Enchiladas.

What do you like to order at Mexican restaurants? Do you have a favorite that you make at home?

Need a veggie with that? How 'bout green beans?

Make-again-but-replace-the-sauce-with-salsa: 1 vote
Make-again-with-no-sauce: 1 vote
Make-again-anyway-you-want-to-as-long-as-I-get-to-eat-it: 1 vote

For Tabitha's Take on Naked Enchiladas (er, Baked Chimichangas), head on over to Double the Garlic


  1. Whoa, that looks like it could feed a household ... or one HUNGRY Texan!

  2. It looks perfect. Can I have one? :-)

  3. @ Ninette: Yes, it could definitely feed a household. You could easily decrease the filling and wrap these in taco-sized tortillas for a smaller portion. In fact, I think that is what Tabitha did!

    @ Eftychia: Thanks! Drop by any time!


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