Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Recipe: Flautas

This last Sunday was the Mexican Independence Day (September 16th). As you may recall, last year I made pozole for the occasion.[1] This year I made one of my favorite Mexican dishes: flautas. Flauta is the Spanish word for "flute", which these superficially resemble. Flautas are small rolled tacos that are fried. In the United States they are sometimes referred to as taquitos ("little tacos") instead of flautas (but I never heard the term taquito in México). But regardless of what name you call them by, they're absolutely delicious when prepared right.

  • 12–16 small (fajita size) tortillas (I prefer flour but corn is more common)
  • 1 chicken breast, cubed or 1 lb. ground hamburger (you can also make them with just the cheese)
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • grated asadero cheese (Cacique brand asadero cheese is the best but any Mozzarella-type cheese will work)
  • cooking oil for frying
Optional toppings:
  • shredded lettuce or cabbage
  • tomatoes cut into wedges
  • sour cream or crema (Mexican table cream)
  • guacamole
  • limes (for juicing)
  • salsa

Brown the meat in a little cooking oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until transparent.

To make the tortillas easier to roll, warm them on a medium-low pan for five to ten seconds on each side (do not microwave—this makes the tortillas sticky).

Spread one heaping tablespoon of the meat on one side of the tortilla and sprinkle with cheese.

Roll the tortilla up very tightly and stick toothpicks through the ends to keep them from unrolling.[2]

Heat an inch or so of cooking oil in a pan to 350–375°F. Place the rolled tortillas into the oil one at a time. Remove when they are crisp and golden.[3]

Place in a colander to drain off excess the oil.

Remove the toothpicks. Smear with guacamole and sour cream (and salsa, if you so choose). Garnish with lettuce and tomatoes. Squeeze lime juice over the top (optional). Leann made refried black beans [4] (which we topped with the leftover asadero cheese) and Mexican rice [5] to eat with our flautas.


[1] See my recipe for pozole here.

[2] A tip, stick the toothpicks through pieces of chicken at either end to trap in the rest of the contents so they don't float out into the hot oil.

[3] We made the mistake of using rubber-tipped cooking tongs to hold the flautas in the cooking oil. It was hot enough to soften the rubber and one of them snapped off. Either use all-metal cooking tongs or drop the flautas in and retrieve them when they're ready. Don't leave rubber-tipped cooking tongs in the hot oil!

[4] See http://fantasticfamilyfavorites.blogspot.com/2011/04/refried-black-beans.html.

[5] See http://fantasticfamilyfavorites.blogspot.com/2011/08/mexican-rice.html.

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