Sunday, May 28

Taste of Tucson: Fruit-filled chimichangas add a nice touch | Entertainment

It was my family’s custom when strawberries came into season that, on one special night, we’d have strawberry shortcake for supper — that’s all we had, and you could eat as much as you wished.

My mother would bake a couple of skillet-sized sweet biscuits, split and buttered them lavishly while still warm, and then sluiced them with sliced sugared berries between the layers and atop them before adding billows of whipped cream.

I’ve done that already this year and it was just as pleasing as I remember it. But the family rule on this is very clear: You can only have shortcake for supper once each spring. The thought of cheating seems, well, un-Mather-ly.

Still, the big, beautiful berries keep coming, and I can’t resist them. Casting about for other strawberries-for-supper ideas, my eye rested on those superb fresh flour tortillas from La Mesa and a light came on.

My mind began mulling things over. What if I mashed up those last two bananas slowly browning on the counter and combined them with some strawberries for a fruity chimichanga filling? The filling would probably want a little dairy — cream cheese and sour cream — for structure. It seemed like it could work.

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Strawberry Banana Chimichangas

You can prepare these chimis to the step where you secure the sides with the toothpicks and refrigerate for up to a day until cooking time. You can also cook these in an air fryer or convection oven at 350 degrees, watching closely as they brown and crisp.

2 very ripe medium bananas

1 ¾ cups sliced strawberries, divided

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature

1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 8-inch soft flour tortillas

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the bananas, cream cheese, sour cream, 1 tablespoon sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in ¾ cup of the sliced strawberries.

Divide the mixture evenly between the tortillas, placing each portion in the lower third of a tortilla. Next, fold the two sides of each tortilla toward the center and then roll the tortilla up like a burrito and secure it with a toothpick. Repeat the rolling process with the remaining tortillas. Place the rolled chimis on a plate and refrigerate until cooking time.

At cooking time, combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar with the cinnamon in a shallow plate and set it aside. Line a large plate with paper towels.

If you’re using an air fryer or convection oven set to 350 degrees, lightly spray the chimis with cooking spray. If you’re frying, add 3 inches of oil to a large, heavy skillet, leaving a minimum of 2 inches from the top of the oil to the top of the skillet. Heat the oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 360 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.

Working in batches, bake or fry the chimichangas until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes, flipping them as needed. Transfer the chimichangas to the paper towel-lined plate to drain for a minute, and then roll them in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Repeat the frying and rolling process with the remaining chimichangas, returning the oil to 360 degrees between batches if frying. Remove toothpicks from the chimichangas and transfer the chimis to serving plates. Top each with a portion of the remaining cup of sliced strawberries and serve immediately.

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