Whenever Hubby and I find ourselves in a situation or circumstance that is out of the ordinary, over the top or unusually different, we look at each other with a smile and say “Honey, we’re not in Kansas anymore.” This is in reference to the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy steps out of her house and into the land of Oz, as the movie changes from black and white to full color.
Years ago, Hubby and I stayed at the Beverley Wilshire Hotel (the famous hotel featured in “Pretty Woman”). This hotel is fabulous – delicious in every sense of the word. The rooms, suites and junior suites are designed to cater to your every whim. Plush would be an understatement. The hotel sits on Rodeo Drive – another over the top experience. The shops on Rodeo Drive attract tourists and shoppers alike. It wasn’t until we bought a tie at Sake’s that we received any attention from the sales staff. Walk into any shop on Rodeo Drive empty-handed and you are lucky to get the time of day. Walk in with a bag from Sake’s and everything changes – people are anxious to wait on you.
After two days of “pampering” that was over the top and unreal, we decided to get a reality check. Believe me, in this make-believe driven world, you need a reality check. We walked a few block off Rodeo Drive to have lunch at a Mexican restaurant. Apparently, a few blocks from Fairy Tale Town wasn’t far enough – and even a Mexican restaurant lacked that simple, down to earth reality we were seeking. Our first clue that we weren’t far enough away Rodeo (where you can spend an obscene amount of money for jeweled doggie sunglasses) was that the host at the restaurant was dressed in a tuxedo. The decor was more along the lines of a beautiful Spanish Villa than a Mexican joint. As we looked over the menu, we noticed that the plates of our fellow diners came in four shaded – pink for the ladies, blue for the gentlemen, and yellow or green for those diners you couldn’t be sure of.
Hubby loves Chimichangas – those wonderful deep-fried stuffed burritos popular throughout the Southwestern United States as well as the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Sonora. Most Chimichangas are fat – as in plump – filled with plenty of rice, beans and assorted shredded meats. After a deep-fry, some are smothered in sour cream and melted cheese. Chimichangas have even been offered “Enchilada” style, with a red or green enchilada sauce either swirled onto the plate with the Chimichanga resting on top, or the sauce poured over the Chimichanga, with sour cream on the side. When ordering a Chimichanga, you have a pretty good idea as to what to expect ahead of time. That is unless you are dining in a fantasy world. When Hubby’s Chimichanga arrived at our table (on a blue plate), it wasn’t folded as you would expect. Instead, the filling had been placed in the center of a large flour tortilla. The tortilla was then drawn up and over the filling, gathered at the top and somehow secured to create a “purse”. This was deep-fried, and placed on the center of the plate. The sour cream had been tinted blue, creating an “ocean”, red enchilada sauce had been poured into the top, and allowed to run down. In other words, Hubby’s Chimichanga resembled an active volcanic island in a deep blue sea. Yep, we weren’t in Kansas any more!
Now the recipe that follows is for your typical deep-fried Chimichanga. If you feel the need to create a volcanic island, have a ball.
2 Lbs Chuck Roast, fork tender and cut into bite-size pieces)
Salt & Pepper to Taste
Enough water to cover roast mid-way
¼ Cup Olive Oil
8 Tablespoons Flour
1 Medium Onion, diced
2 Cans (14.5 oz) Mexican-Style Stewed Tomatoes, drained & chopped
2 Cups Beef stock
8 Anaheim Chiles (canned or roasted), diced
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
5-7 cups Water
8-10 Large Flour Tortillas
For the chuck Roast: Season meat with salt and pepper. Place in a large dutch oven with enough water to cover meat mid-way. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until meat is fork-tender, adding more water as needed to prevent meat from drying out, about 1 ½-2 hours.
Turn the roast about midway through cooking time so that entire roast has been cooked in liquid. Remove roast from liquid, reserve 2 cups. Allow roast to rest for 10-15 minutes before cutting into bite-size pieces.
In a large pot, heat oil and brown flour. Add onions, stewed tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Add meat, then add 2 cups beef stock.
Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once mixture is heated through, add diced chilies, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Add water and mix. Cook over high-heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes, stirring frequently until mixture is thickened. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to use.
While meat mixture is thickening, warm tortillas to get them soft and pliable. Add about ½ Cup meat mixture to heated flour tortilla. Place filling at one end of tortilla, then fold bottom edge over filling, fold sides to center. Roll the side with meat filling all the way over to from a burrito. Repeat with remaining tortillas and meat.
Heat oil in a large pot or deep fryer until almost smoking. Deep fry Chimichanga to a golden brown but DO NOT over-fry. Cook 2 or 3 at a time. Use tongs to place and remove Chimichangas from hot oil. When placing into hot oil, place the Chimichangas on the “seam” to seal. Make sure the entire Chimichanga is submerged.
Allow Chimichanga to drain on paper towels. Place on individual plates and serve. If desired, Chimichangas can be served “enchilada” style. Sour cream can be served on the side, along with desired “toppings”.