Saturday, December 4, 2010

Chicken Chimichanga's with Espinaca Sauce

I love Chimichanga's. We get them all the time at Garcia's. They have a new one that has an Espinaca sauce poured over the top, it's a creamy, cheesey sauce that has hot peppers and spinach in it. Definitely not low calorie, but it's delicious. I've been trying to come up with a recipe for the sauce at home, and I think I've finally got it.  I've made Chimichanga's before, quite a bit, but I don't fry them, I bake them instead, it kind of helps with the calories a bit don't you think??? You can make your chimichanga's with any kind of meat, chicken, steak, or shredded pork. I will use chicken here, but if you have leftover steak or roastbeef, or a pork roast use that. It's all good.

Chicken Chimichanga's
3 or 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
2 Tablespoons canned chopped green chilies (freeze the leftover for another recipe)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Flour tortilla's (large) or wraps will work too, I've use the sundried tomatoe flavored wraps before
Espinaca Sauce (see recipe below)
1 to 2 Tablespoons melted butter

Espinaca Sauce
3 Tablespoons Butter
3 Jalapeno peppers, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 Tablespoons flour
2 cups half n' half (or milk)
1/2  of a 10 oz. pkge Cecique Cheese-Queso Quesadilla, grated (I found this in the Mexican cheese section at walmart, it's the best melting cheese that I've found when experimenting with this recipe)
3/4 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained (squeeze as much water out as you can)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make the Chimichangas:
Cut chicken into bite size pieces or smaller. (you can cook the chicken first by boiling, and then dice into pieces) or cook chicken in a large hot skillet that has been drizzled with olive oil. Cook stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.
Remove chicken from skillet. Then add the onion and bell pepper, cook until tender crisp- approx. 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chicken back into the skillet, then add the garlic, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to your taste. Cook for a couple more minutes to re-heat the chicken and green chilies.
Then heat the tortilla's in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds so they are pliable. Brush oneside with butter, flip over and lay about 2 heaping spoonfuls of the meat mixture on the tortilla, then fold up and roll like you would a burrito or eggroll. (I do this on a cookie sheet that I'm going to bake them in, the butter helps grease the cookie sheet and helps the tortilla to brown and crisp while baking). When you have used all your meat  ( I usually get about 5 or 6 good sized chimichanga's with this) bake in oven for about 10 to 12 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
I used 2 sundried tomatoe tortilla's and the rest were flour.

Meanwhile make the Espinaca sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium size saucepan. Then add the jalapeno's and the garlic and saute for a couple of minutes. Then whisk in the flour and saute a minute or two longer. Be carefull the heat isn't too hot, you don't want to burn the butter or the flour, this will taste bitter.
Next, whisk in the half and half, and continue to cook until thickened. Add grated cheese and spinach and stir until the cheese is melted. Taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. The butter and cheese add a little salt so taste first.

Serve Chimichanga's with Espinaca sauce spooned over the top. This goes well with Mexican rice and black or refried beans. Enjoy!!

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