Chimichangas

Growing up in California, I though that plentiful, delicious and inexpensive Mexican food was the norm. However, here on the east coast the Mexican restaurants must cater to finicky eastern palates. For example, Chris Kimball (who admits his Yankee palate) has no burrito recipes on any of his websites. Fortunately, I’ve figured out how to cook my own.

Not authentic Mexican; but this is what I grew up eating.

Soak beans overnight in lightly salted water, discard liquid, cook in separate pot for 2-hours. Cook 4-ounces of bacon, reserve the fat for browning the beef. Brown 4-pounds of chuck roast on all sides; about 4-minutes per side.  Saute 1/2 of diced onion in bacon fat for 5 minutes, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add beef broth and let cook, covered, for 2-hours. Remove meat, cut into 2-inch cubes. When cool enough to work with; shred. Add meat back into pan, add back 1-1/2 cups of reserved liquid, as well as all remaining ingredients (don’t forget remaining half of onion). Cook uncovered about 15 minutes (or until enough liquid has evaporated).

At this point, you can either makes burritos or chimichangas (deep fried burrito). Top with cheese, guacamole, sour cream, tomato, scallions and salsa.

Issues:

  1. Deep frying always raises my blood pressure a little, as the burritos tend to want to open up. Sometimes I use toothpicks, but last night I didn’t.
  2. I divide the shredded beef into two pots; one for the kids without spices.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $16. Enough for 3 evening’s dinners.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium.
Start time 3:30 PM. Done cooling at 7:00 PM.

Recipe:

4-pound boneless shoulder chuck roast
2 tablespoon bacon drippings
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup beef stock
1 tomato, diced
1 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapenos, diced
1 bell pepper
1 bag black or kidney beans, soaked overnight
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper.
2 teaspoon chili powder.
1 teaspoon cumin.
1/2 teaspoon cayenne

  • Soak beans overnight; with 2 teaspoons of salt per quart of water. Drain and discard water. Cook in separate pot with fresh water for 2 hours.
  • Rub the roast with 1 teaspoon salt. Cook bacon reserving bacon fat.
  • Use 1 tablespoon of bacon fat over medium-high heat to brown the roast on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.
  • Saute half of the onion for 5 minutes, scraping up brown bits from bottom of the pan.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and beef stock.
  • Cover and simmer for 2 hours (roughly 210 degrees). Turn roast over after 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, prepare any toppings.
  • Remove beef and cut into manageable sized pieces. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Reserve the cooking liquid.
  • Shred the meat into bite-size pieces using two forks.
  • Sauté the remaining onion for 5 minutes and garlic for 30 seconds in 1 Tablespoon bacon drippings or oil.
  • Add the meat and brown for 10 minutes. Scrape the meat up from the bottom every few minutes, getting it crusty in some spots.
  • Pour 1 1/2 cups of reserved cooking liquid. To speed cooking, add back less liquid. (Save the extra liquid for re-heating)
  • Add spices, black beans, tomatoes and chilies. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated. The meat should remain moist but not juicy.
  • The filling can be made ahead and refrigerated for several days.
  • Makes 10 large chimichangas. Filling takes about 3 hours.
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