Today is a day of celebration in Mexico. Many people think that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but it's not. Today, September 16, is.
I wanted to honor by sisters and brothers of Mexican decent today, and so my friend LeAnn Rice allowed me to post my recipe for cheese enchiladas on her site, She Cooks. If you are visiting from there, welcome. I hope you'll spend a few minutes looking at my site. Also, if you have time, please visit my other site, Her Organized Life.
If you have stopped by my site first, please visit She Cooks. It's a great site. Today, I want to share a bit of history and my favorite Chicken Chimichanga recipe.
Elizabeth Rose from About.com tells this brief history about the day:
In 1810 on September 16th, Father Miguel Hidalgo, sounded "El Grito," or The Cry of Independence in Dolores, in the State of Guanajuato. "El Grito" called for independence and sovereignty for Mexico. Father Hidalgo inspired the people of Mexico with a fiery cry: "Long live religion! Long live Our Lady of Guadalupe! Long live the Americas and death to the corrupt government!". At the same time Father Hildalgo gave his call to action, other revolutions broke out in all of Latin America. The 16th of September is the biggest holiday in Mexico. So, today, the Latino community celebrates the anniversary of this heroic cry for freedom with fiestas, decorations and a remembrance of the importance of freedom.
Galatians 5:12-14 says this about freedom:
"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
God loves freedom, when it is used for righteousness. Let us celebrate freedom today by turning our hearts towards God's call to love one another through that freedom.
And now for something completely different (as they said on Monty Python years ago) ... chimichangas!
Chimichangas are not a traditional Mexican dish, but it is traditional to Arizona, and has spread around the country. I actually have found my favorite recipe from Emeril Lagasse. He serves it with a chipotle salsa (click here to read his entire recipe), but I serve it with sour cream and sometimes guacamole if I plan ahead and get a ripe avocado. It's the best recipe I've ever tasted for chimichangas:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
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
Heat vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium 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 about an inch of vegetable oil in a frying pan to about 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.
Happy cooking and happy Independence Day!
In His Love,