Chimichangas are similar to burritos, except deep fried to create a crispy, golden tortilla shell around a flavorful filling, usually shredded chicken or beef. In these Shredded Beef Chimichangas, tender meat gets an even bigger flavor boost thanks to chilies, onions, and spices, before being wrapped in a soft flour tortilla and fried (or baked) until crispy! Perfect for Cinco de Mayo!
Do you remember when you were a kid and were asked the question, “If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”? My answer was ALWAYS chimichangas. Seriously, I thought (and a part of me still thinks) I could eat these shredded beef chimichangas every single day.
There is just something about a warm flour tortilla wrapped around spicy, tender Mexican shredded beef and fried up all nice and crispy on the outside, then topped with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole that makes my soul sing like a mariachi band.
Some Mexican restaurants bake them in the oven for a healthier option (and I’m including instructions for how to do that in the recipe notes below) but I think the fried version is the best.
Like many things, homemade chimichangas are SO much better than anything I have ever had in a restaurant. The already delicious shredded beef that you can make in advance gets added to a mix of onions and chilies that are sauteed in a pan with cumin and garlic powder, then you add in beef broth and green chili salsa or salsa verde to make a juicy, spicy, incredibly flavorful chimichanga filling.
After heating up the tortillas in the microwave between damp paper towels, you just scoop some of the chimichanga meat into the center of each tortilla and wrap it up like a burrito, securing it with toothpicks so it will hold together during the frying process. I find that there is no need to mess around with a whole lot of oil to fry your chimichangas. Just enough to cover the bottom of a large pan does the trick, although you may need to replace some of the oil between batches of chimichangas.
Use tongs to turn each chimichanga over in the pan to fry each side, then transfer the cooked chimichangas to a wire rack to drain any excess oil while working on the next batch. It really doesn’t take long to cook all your chimichangas since the filling is already hot and really you are just crisping up the outside of the flour tortilla.
Be sure to remove all the toothpicks before serving these. I like to top mine with shredded lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, sour cream and guacamole, but you might also put out salsa or pico de gallo, or serve Colorado sauce or salsa verde with your shredded beef chimichangas.
And to have a truly authentic Mexican restaurant experience, you could serve Spanish rice and refried beans on the side!
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