One of my best friends lives out West in Montana – Big Sky Country. It is so beautiful and picturesque and I absolutely fell in love with it even before the wheels touched down on the airplane the first time I ever visited. I’ve been out several more times over the 13+ years that she has lived in Montana with each trip always being even more amazing than the last.
I met Katie on the first day of my junior year of college. To describe me as “animated” is somewhat of an understatement and poor Katie was the unfortunate soul who decided to sit next to me in our Zoology Lab class . From that day forward we began a wonderful friendship.
Every time I visit her, one of my same requests plays out over and over. Katie’s Chimichangas! She made them for me on one of my first visits out to Montana and I absolutely fell in love with them. As time has gone on, I have sought out ethnic foods, learned about other cultures and certainly have (tried) to learn to cook other cuisines, and I have learned to make her Chimichangas. So when Katie commented that she didn’t know “what was so special about [her] chimichangas,” I just smiled. For me, what is so special about them is that she made them for me. It’s the connection to that memory, to the food, and of friendship that makes those chimichangas so special to me. It’s the time taken to prepare them and to prepare them especially for me and (now) my whole family.
I recently flew out to Montana to visit Katie and so with images of the West still in my mind and the dust still covering my boots, I say “Until I see you again, my friend. I love you and thank you for a beautiful friendship.”
Baked Chimichangas with Chile Verde Sauce
Baked Chimichangas with Chile Verde Sauce is a lighter version of the traditional fried ones. Packed full of flavor and without the greasy oil.
- non-stick cooking spray
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 onion , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper , seeded and diced
- 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- Kosher salt
- 2 small tomato , seeded and diced, divided
- 2 1/2 cups shredded leftover or rotisserie chicken
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro , divided
- 3/4 cup sour cream , divided
- 1 15- ounce can refried beans or 2 cups of homemade refried beans (recipe here)
- 10 10- inch flour tortillas
- 2 cup shredded Monterrey jack cheese , divided
- Shredded lettuce , for topping
- taco sauce
Green Chili sauce ingredients:
- 1 tsp vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup onion , diced
- 1/2 tsp garlic , minced
- 1/8 tsp chili powder
- 1/8 tsp cumin
- 1/8 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 4- ounce cans green chilies; drained and rinsed
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro , rough chopped
- Preheat the oven to 450° F. Melt the butter in a skillet; add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, cinnamon and 1 teaspoon salt; toast 30 seconds. Add the tomato and cilantro and cook an additional 2 minutes. Stir in the chicken and 1/4 cup of sour cream and warm through. Remove from the heat.
- Spray a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray. Spread 2 tablespoons refried beans down the center of each tortilla, leaving a 2-inch border on both ends. Top with 1 cup chicken mixture and 1/4 cup cheese. Fold in the ends and roll up.
- Put the chimichangas seam-side down on the baking sheet; brush the tops with melted butter. Bake 10 to 15 minutes. Top with the green chili sauce, taco sauce, cheese, lettuce and tomato and a dollop of sour cream. Serve with Mexican Style rice (recipe here) and beans.
- Green chili Sauce:
- Saute the onion and garlic in a skillet with vegetable oil. Add the chili powder, cumin, sugar and salt; let cook 30 seconds. Next stir in the chopped green chiles and cook another 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth and simmer until thickened. Carefully pour into a blender and puree the sauce. Lastly, stir in the chopped cilantro.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!