Popular in Tex-Mex cuisine, the origins of the ‘chimichanga’ are a little unclear. Whoever takes the credit, deep frying a filled burrito until golden was a great idea – one that is still revered today. Shredded chicken braised in a spicy chipotle chilli sauce is wrapped in a flour tortilla and fried until crisp. Served with a tart, green tomato salsa, it’s a burrito like you’ve never had before.
- 500 g chicken breast
- 2 brown onions, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, halved
- 3–4 chipotle chillies in adobo (see Note)
- 300 g tomatoes, chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- ⅓ cup coriander leaves, chopped
- kitchen twine or toothpicks
- 80 g mild feta cheese, crumbled, plus extra to serve
- 6 jumbo flour tortillas, warmed (see Note)
- vegetable oil to deep fry
- red cabbage slaw (optional)
- 400 g tomatillos (see Note)
- ¼ small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp pickled jalapeños, chopped
- ½ chipotle chilli in adobo, finely chopped
- ¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 20 minutes
Slice 1 onion and halve 2 cloves garlic. Place in saucepan with 1.25 litres (5 cups) water and 1 tsp salt. Bring to the boil, add the chicken breast, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave chicken to cool in the water for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving solids and stock. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred finely.
Combine the boiled onion and garlic, chipotle chillies and tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth. Pass through a sieve (discard solids) and set aside.
Finely chop the remaining onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion to the frying pan with the oregano and a pinch of salt. Cook for 4–5 minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and ground coriander, cook for 2 minutes, then add the blended chilli mixture. Bring to a simmer, partially cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Add 250 ml (1 cup) reserved chicken stock, shredded chicken and season to taste. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for a further 10–15 minutes until the chicken has absorbed the stock and the sauce has reduced to a glaze. Stir through the coriander, remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding.
To make the tomatillo salsa, place the tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer until soft, about 2 minutes, drain. Slice tomatillos into quarters, combine with the remaining ingredients and season to taste, set aside.
Heat oil in a deep saucepan to 170°C. Working with one tortilla at a time, spoon some of the chicken mixture along the bottom third of the tortilla and scatter with ¼ of the feta cheese. Fold over to enclose the filling, fold in the sides and roll to enclose completely. Tie with kitchen twine or secure the join with toothpicks. Using tongs, gently lower the filled burrito into the oil, seam-side down. Cook for 3–4 mins until golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towel.
Serve chimichangas dressed with the tomatillo salsa, extra feta and red cabbage slaw, if using.
• Chipotle chillies in adobo are dried and smoked jalapeño chillies in a thick, spicy sauce. They are available in small tins in Latin food stores and quality continental delicatessens and supermarkets.
• Tomatillos are only available fresh during summer from specialty growers. If unavailable, substitute drained, canned tomatillos and omit the cooking step as they are ready to use. Canned tomatillos are available from Latin food stores. In a pinch, you could use cherry tomatoes but the flavour will be notably sweeter.
• Warming the tortillas will make them more pliable and easier to roll. You can use smaller tortillas but the cooked chimichanga will be quite petite.