From Cook’s Country, June/July 2011

 Chicken Chimichangas

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:Forget about tasteless fillings. We simmer the chicken and rice for our chimichangas in a chipotle broth, infusing smoky bite through and through. As for construction, we noticed that the standard burrito-style wrapping method left us with doughy tortilla ends and filling that fell out. We created an easy new folding technique that kept the filling put without any floury bites.

Serves 4 

If using a cast-iron Dutch oven, increase the broth to 1 3/4 cups, adding 1 1/4 cups in step 2.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 cup long-grain white rice
  •  Salt and pepper
  • 2 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon plus 3 cups peanut or vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, rinsed
  • 4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 (10-inch) flour tortillas

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Whisk broth and chipotle together in 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Combine 1/2 cup chipotle broth, rice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in bowl. Cover bowl and microwave until liquid is completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining 3/4 cup chipotle broth, parcooked rice, and beans and bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, add chicken, and cook, covered, until chicken registers 160 degrees and rice is tender, about 15 minutes, flipping chicken half-way through. Transfer chicken to cutting board and rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces and combine with rice and bean mixture, cheddar, and cilantro in large bowl. Wash now-empty pot.
  4. Whisk flour and water together in bowl. Stack tortillas on plate and microwave, covered, until pliable, about 1 minute. Working 1 at a time, place one-quarter or chicken mixture in center of warm tortilla. Brush edges of tortilla with flour paste. Wrap top and bottom of tortilla tightly over filling. Brush ends of tortilla with paste and fold into center, pressing firmly to seal.
  5. Heat remaining 3 cups oil in clean pot over medium-high heat until 325 degrees. Place 2 chimichangas, seam side down, in oil. Fry, adjusting burner as necessary to maintain oil temperature between 300 and 325 degrees, until chimichangas are deep golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet. Bring oil back to 325 degrees and repeat with remaining chimichangas. Serve.

GLUE AND FOLD

The usual burrito-style wrapping method left us between the devil and the deep blue sea: Either the filling leaked out in the pot of oil or the ends of the tortilla never crisped. Our new chimichanga folding technique solves both problems.

STP_Chimichanga_05

GLUE Place the filling in the middle of the tortilla. Brush the tortilla’s circumference with a flour-and-water paste. The paste will act as a glue, letting you securely seal the chimichanga.

FOLD After you’ve folded two opposing sides toward the center and pressed them to seal, brush the open flaps with more paste. Fold the flaps in and again press firmly to seal the chimichanga shut.
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