Cooking On A Budget: Beef Chimichangas

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Beef Chimichangas


When I was in my twenties (which was back in the dark ages it seems), I had my first beef chimichanga at a Mexican restaurant called La Boca. The dish was served in this crispy tortilla shell and loaded with a yummy beef mixture which I discovered was pot roasted beef. Many years after that I decided I would try them at home creating my own version and it has become a family favorite.
The yield depends on how much pot roasted beef you have left over. My small piece, and the only way I can describe it was about 4 1/2 inches long. It did yield filling for probably 10-12 chimichangas. You want a serving spoon size in each one and make sure your tortillas are pliable. I let mine come to room temperature and worked fast so they were okay to work with. Should you have ones that are stiff place them in the microwave for 10-12 seconds to make them soft enough to work with.
Also, you can choose to bake these rather than fry them. And there are two methods to frying which I'll explain below. If you bake them, do them in a 350° oven until they are golden brown on top. That will take about 20-30 minutes.

  • left over shredded pot roast
  • tortillas
  • oil for deep frying
  • 1/2 large onion- medium dice (approximately 1 1/2-2 cups)
  • 1 jar medium salsa (or whatever you like)
  • 1 can green chilies - chopped
  • Monterey Jack cheese - shredded 
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil 
  • 2 tsp. Mexican or Southwest Spice blend
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
  1. Get your pot roast out of the refrigerator and using your hands, shred the meat.
  2. In a skillet saute the onion for a few minutes in the olive oil over medium heat. Add in the Southwest spice blend and the cumin and stir.
  3. Add to the pan the chopped green chilies and the salsa. Give a good stir and simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add in the beef and mix well. Taste for any additional seasonings like salt and pepper or if you want it spicier and a little more heat, add in cayenne pepper.
  5. Make sure your oil is at 350° for frying.
  6. First way: This first method is deep frying so you'll need a larger pot and more oil. Take a tortilla and place it in the oil and then using a stainless steel ladle press down in the center. The oil will bubble and rise, so be careful. When the tortilla takes shape, take the ladle out and using tongs move the tortilla around in the oil so it all gets crispy.
  7. Drain upside down on paper towels. Do in batches as necessary and keep warm in a 250° oven.
  8. The second way: place the filling on the tortilla with the cheese, wrap it up burrito style and secure with a toothpick.
  9. Fry the bundles in about an inch of oil heated to 350°, turning over to brown both sides and the edge using tongs.

This recipe comes together fairly quickly which makes it great for any night of the week for a dinner meal.

You already have the pot roast so the cost is the jar of salsa and green chilies and a few spices and the tortillas. Our total cost was $8.58, yield 10 at 85¢ each. Doesn't get any better than that for budget meals!

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