When I was a little girl and even a teenager, my uncle and I had a ritual. Every year for my birthday he would take me out to eat and to the mall to spend my birthday money. It was our annual date. And we ALWAYS went to my favorite restaurant, Chi-Chi’s. I know that Chi-Chi’s was shut down due to health violations and that should probably really bother me, but I REALLY miss their seafood chimichanga! It was my favorite and I have never found a recipe or restaurant that can truly replicate it.
A few years ago, I did find a recipe that was close, but it was such a pain to make because I had to pull out the deep-fryer, and I could never fold the chimchangas so that at least one of them didn’t open up while in the fryer causing a big mess, so I haven’t made them in a while.
A few weeks ago, I was craving one of their chimichangas, when I thought to myself, “What if I combine the filling and the cheese sauce to make a soup?” And that is how I came up with the recipe. It is pretty close as far as taste goes. I do still miss the crunch of the fried shell (sue me…I’ll never give up fried food altogether), but I think I could add some of those tortilla chip strips (I’m not sure on the actual name, but you know what I’m talking about, right?) the next time I make it and get the effect.
This recipe brought back the memories of those times with my uncle and how much I loved those birthday dates.
Do you have any special birthday traditions or foods that you share with family? Tell me about them in the comments!
- 4 TBSP butter
- 4 TBSP flour
- 1 onion
- 1 & 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 3 cups milk (I used 2%)
- 8.5 oz canned tiny shrimp
- 12 oz canned lump crab meat
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 8 oz monterey jack cheese (I bought a block and shredded it)
- 2 cups shredded cheddar
- 1 TBSP lemon juice
- cilantro (for serving)
- sour cream (for serving)
- Melt the butter and saute the onion for approximately 5 minutes. You want the onions to be translucent.
- Add the flour and whisk until combined and there are no lumps.
- Add the milk and chicken broth and cook until the soup starts to bubble and thicken.
- Drain the shrimp and crab and add them to the soup mixture. Cook for 5 minutes or until the soup returns to a boil.
- Remove from the heat.
- Add the cheese and spices. Stir until all of the cheese is melted.
- Add the lemon juice and stir until combined.
- Serve with chopped cilantro, a dollop of sour cream, and a sprinkle of the smoked paprika.
NOTE: While the leftover soup was still yummy, the cheese does become a bit grainy upon reheating.