Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chimichangas


You’ll notice that I have capitalized the word Chimichanga out of reverence to its awesomeness among the choices available on the menu at most Mexican restaurants.  Indeed, it may even be the name of a place in Mexico, or a person from Mexico.  If you have not yet noted this feature of the article, please go back and do so now.  I’ll wait.

For this dinner I will be using chicken to fill the Chimichangas.  The chicken itself is not special, but the way I cook it is.  For your own protection, do not attempt to tell a chicken it is not special.  Have you ever tried to deal with a chicken with low self-esteem?

I prefer to cook the chicken in a Crock Pot at low temperature for three to four hours.  When it comes out of the Crock Pot it shreds apart easily with a fork, and anyone who has been to a Mexican restaurant will attest, the key to the illusion that you are experiencing authentic Mexican cuisine is that the chicken is tender and shredded, not necessarily that it was made by someone named Juan.

I mix the chicken with some good chunky salsa and scoop it onto the steamed tortilla.  Along with the chicken I add some shredded cheddar cheese.  Again, the use of the shredded cheese is an indicator of a theme that speaks to the authenticity of the Mexican dish.  For example, one might ask: How is the Mexican economy?  And one might answer: Shredded.

As a side note, there is a trick to making the tortillas soft, warm and tender, and that is to steam them.  It’s a pretty simple process.  All you do is fill a pan with water and put it on a burner.  Put a rack over the pan, big enough for the tortillas, cover the tortillas and let them steam.

Now, some people might think that this innovation is so revolutionary that it requires a patent.  Other people might think that it is so common-sense that any moron with a pan an a rack can achieve excellent results.  But I digress.

The best part about the Chimichanga is the deep fried flour tortilla.  For the security of the Chimichanga, as well as burritos and any awesomely delicious item wrapped in a steamed, tender flour tortilla, it is important to employ the double-fold.
 
This seems to be a key element in burrito technology that Taco Bell was missing until recently.  As anyone who has ordered a burrito from Taco Bell in the last twenty years or so can tell you, a Taco Bell burrito was open at one end and secured at the other end by only a single-fold.  The result of this design meant that a good portion of the contents of your burrito wound up in your lap.

Recently, however, Taco Bell has upgraded their burrito design to include the double-fold, which provides an added measure of strength and support to keep the contents on the inside of the burrito.

I confess that I am not the originator of the double-fold technology, and it is likely that this burrito design element dates back to the origins of the burrito itself.  However, my discovery of the double-fold construction took place at a local restaurant called Taco del Mar, where I witnessed this burrito construction first hand, safely behind the glass counter, which shielded me from any possible eruptions or refried bean splatter damage.

So, with this new, high-tech design concept available to me, I decided to employ the knowledge to the construction of the Chimichangas.  Please note the arrow in the photograph.

The Chimichangas were a big hit in our household, and currently rank near the top of the list of favorite dinners.  For another big hit, take a look at this video of Master Bart Ryan recently teaching a lesson at The Dungeon.



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