Mexican food was never a regular part of my life until Ben also became a regular. See, my family’s choice restaurant and food was Italian as I was growing up. I can’t even remember one time when my parents took us out to have Mexican.
Enter Ben…whose family adores Mexican food and would often go out to enjoy it together as a treat. As we were dating and during our first few years of marriage, there were numerous times we dined out with his family at a Mexican restaurant, much to my disappointment. What did I order? I typically stuck with quesadillas or something as Americanized as possible.
Incidentally, in the past couple of years and after continuous visits to more authentic Mexican restaurants, I decided to give in, branch out, and try some new dishes. To my surprise, I actually now like Mexican. It still isn’t my first choice when choosing what I want to eat (who prefers a side order of beans and rice over fries?), but I’m not thoroughly opposed to it anymore.
Now that we live in the Southwest, I feel a bit obligated to enhance my cooking skills in Mexican food. Additionally, Pennies on a Platter has made it to the next round of Project Food Blog (thank you for your votes!) and the next challenge is to make a dish from another culture, that I’m not as familiar with. So, this is my challenge post.
In order to stay true to my Pennies on a Platter theme, I was opposed to picking a dish that would force me to buy a bunch of ingredients with the likelihood of Ben and I not even enjoying the meal. That would definitely be a waste of money! So, I asked Ben for his favorite Mexican dish and he came up with Chimichangas. My response? “What the heck is that?”
After some research, I learned that Chimichangas are merely fried burritos. I chose a Mexican flavored shredded beef recipe that I’ve never made before to use as the filling, along with some Monterey Jack cheese. After rolling these ingredients into the tortilla, the burritos are quickly fried on all sides then served with your choice of toppings, including salsa, sour cream, lettuce, guacamole, etc.
What did Ben think? He said they were the best Chimichangas he’s ever had! Wow! I really enjoyed them, as well. I loved the crispy tortilla wrapped around the deliciously flavored beef (this shredded beef recipe is definitely a keeper!) I’m so glad I branched out from my comfort zone and made such an easy dish that I know we’ll continue to enjoy, when I thought it would be so challenging! It proves that I need to dive into new recipes more often.
You need to make the meat ahead of time, as it is prepared in a slow cooker for 6- 8 hours. I had it cooking during the night. It was a late night preparing the meat, as I was also prepping some pumpkin waffle batter to enjoy with friends the next morning. Imagine what my kitchen looked like late at night as I was preparing both of these recipes at the same time. Well, you don’t have to imagine…just take a look:
Voting for this challenge starts tomorrow, September 27 at 6AM Pacific Time and ends September 30 at 6 PM Pacific Time. Thanks, again, for your votes! Hope you can make this recipe and enjoy it as much as we did!
Shredded Beef Chimichangas
Yield: 6 chimichangas
4 – 6 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 lb boneless chuck roast
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup beef stock (or broth)
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced (original calls for 1, but next time I’m using 2)
1/2 large sweet onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced (original calls for 3, but I love garlic)
choice of toppings – lettuce, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc.
To make the shredded beef:
Combine the spices in a small bowl. Rub into the beef, covering all the nooks and crannies and each side evenly.
In a large skillet, heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil until shimmering. Sear the meat on each side, using tongs to flip it. Remove and place in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
With the skillet remaining over the heat, deglaze with the beef stock and scrape up any brown bits. Whisk in the tomato paste and chipotle peppers. Once sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened and reduced.
Meanwhile, add the onion and garlic to the top of the beef in the slow cooker. Carefully pour the sauce over top. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
Once the meat is fork tender, remove and shred with two forks. Pour a portion of the sauce, including the onions, over top of the meat and let soak to enhance flavor.
To make the Chimichangas:
Heat 3-4 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, until shimmering.
While waiting for the oil to heat up, warm the tortillas in the microwave for 10 – 20 seconds. Fill with a few tablespoons of shredded beef and about 1/4 cup of shredded cheese. Roll the tortilla into a burrito shape.
Once the oil is heated, place the burritos (2-3 at a time) into the skillet and brown on each side until golden. Start with the seam side down first.
Place on paper towel lined plate to drain any excess oil. Serve with desired toppings.