El Charro Cafe Chimichangas el Charro

You can make these chimichangas with the overgrown, 16- or 18-inch flour tortillas. But 12- to 14-inch tortillas (the fresher, the more flexible) make impressive chimis too—even 10-inchers will do—and they're easier to deep-fry at home. As a crisp alternative to frying, place rolled chimis in an oiled 10 x 15-inch pan and brush lightly with salad oil. Bake on the lowest rack in a 400 degrees F oven until golden, about 35 minutes. If desired, sprinkle with cheese.



  • 6 flour tortillas (12 to 14 inches)


  • About 1 1/2 quarts salad oil
  • 2 firm-ripe avocados (about 1/2 pound each)
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 (16 ounce) can red chili or enchilada sauce
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce (iceberg and/or romaine) and/or red cabbage
  • 2 cups (about 1/2 pound) shredded jack and/or Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Tomato or fruit salsa


  1. Lay 1 tortilla flat. Fold 1/3 up over center. Spoon 1/6 of the filling across the doubled portion, leaving a 2-inch border at each end. Roll tortilla once, fold in ends, then roll snugly to enclose filling. Secure seam with toothpicks. Repeat to fill remaining tortillas.
  2. In a 5- to 6-quart pan (at least 10 inches wide) or 14-inch wok over high heat, bring about 1 inch oil to 360 degrees, adjust heat to maintain temperature.
  3. Using a wide metal spatula, lower 1 chimichanga at a time into hot oil, filling pan without crowding. Fry until golden on all sides, turning occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes total per chimi. Transfer to a towel-lined 10- x 15-inch pan. Keep warm in a 225 degree F oven. Repeat to fry remaining chimichangas.
  4. Meanwhile, peel, pit, and thinly slice avocados. Moisten slices with lime juice. In a 1- to 11/2-quart pan over medium heat, warm chili sauce; pour into a small bowl.
  5. Line a platter or plates with lettuce. Remove toothpicks from chimis and place, seam down, on lettuce. Sprinkle chimis evenly with 1 cup cheese and garnish with avocado. Serve with remaining cheese and the chili sauce, sour cream, and salsa, to taste.

Nutritional Information: Per chimi with pork: 927 cal., 50% from fat; 50 g protein; 51 g fat (16 g sat.); 68 g carbo (3.8 g fiber); 1,654 mg sodium; 131 mg chol

Source: Sunset Recipe Annual 2000 Edition El Charro Cafe: The Tastes and Traditions of Tucson (Fisher Books, Tucson, 1998)

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