Southwest Food Guilty Pleasure: Emeril Lagasse’s Chicken Chimichangas

I have always had a special place in my heart for Emeril Lagasse since we share a hometown state, so when searching for a recipe for chicken chimichangas I had to search my man’s library.

Miss Lilly is currently taking the southern route from Louisiana back to Seattle and her road trip got me thinking about all of the delicious Southwestern food which seem to have gone missing in this town.

I’ve shared his secret below, which can also be found on, but am also hoping this will inspire all of you to take a stroll down your stomach’s memory lane and share some favorites or send Miss Lilly a head’s up for some roadside gems.

Posted by Miss Geraldine

Chicken Chimichangas with Chipotle Salsa

Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004

Prep Time:
25 min
Inactive Prep Time:
Cook Time:
10 min
8 chimichangas


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus 8 cups for frying
  • 1/2 cup diced white onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 pounds cooked chicken breast, shredded while warm
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 8 (10-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack
  • Wooden toothpicks
  • Chipotle Salsa, recipe follows
  • Sour Cream, for garnish
  • Fresh cilantro sprigs, for garnish


Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the green chiles. Cook mixture for about 5 minutes, or until heated through. Set aside and cool slightly.

One at a time, place the tortillas on a work surface, keeping the remaining tortillas covered with a damp towel. (For pliable tortillas, sprinkle lightly with 1/4 teaspoon water and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 10 to 20 seconds just before ready to stuff, and keep covered until ready to roll.) Spread 1/2 cup of the chicken mixture in a rectangle in the center of the tortilla. Sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese. Fold the bottom of the tortilla over the filling and then fold the sides over. Fold the top of the tortilla over the folded sides and secure the sides with wooden toothpicks. Place folded side down.

Heat the remaining vegetable oil in a deep stockpot or deep fryer to 360 degrees F. Using tongs, lower the chimichangas folded side down, 1 at a time into the hot oil. (It is helpful to hold the chimichanga with the tongs until it has “sealed” together.) Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 3 minutes.Drain on a paper towel-lined plate and continue with remaining chimichangas.

Remove toothpicks from the chimichangas and serve immediately with Chipotle Salsa, sour cream, and fresh cilantro.

Chipotle Salsa:

3 1/2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes

1/3 cup diced sweet onions

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon chopped chipotle peppers in adobo

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine tomatoes, onions, garlic, lime juice, chopped peppers and cilantro in a medium bowl. Season with salt. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Serve chilled or at room temperature with chicken chimichangas.

Yield: about 4 cups

This entry was published on 03/04/11 at 5:17 p01. It’s filed under Culinary Experiments, Misc, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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