My family has been cooking from a cookbook from one of our favorite Tex-mex places for years. If you’re looking for a good tex-mex cookbook, I do highly recommend “Mextex: Traditional Tex-Mex Taste.” With that small advertisement out of the way, I can get on to the flauta recipe.
Some may know these better as taquitos, those rolled up things you buy in the freezer section and microwave for a quick meal. And while those are good and all, I do love me some homemade ones. The flauta recipe in the previously advertised cookbook gives you the jest of how to make some good flautas, but it doesn’t give much in the way of instruction on how to cook the chicken, something I find to be the most important part of the entire thing.
I use this chicken recipe for anything I make that is Tex-mex and needs chicken be it flautas, enchiladas, fajitas, or chile relleno. The secret to this chicken? Tequila. Nothing’s better than a good soak in tequila.
Of course just tequila and chicken would be kinda weird. To cook with the tequila, I pair it with some classics like olive oil and lime juice. In addition to that I always like to cook my onions with the chicken so they can soak up the flavor. As for spices, I stick to the classic line-up: cumin, chili powder, coriander, oregano, fresh cilantro, salt, and pepper. I always use fresh cilantro because I pretty much always have it on hand, but in a pinch, dried cilantro works just as well.
I throw all of these ingredients into a baking dish and let it hand out for about 30 minutes to an hour before throwing it in the oven. For chicken breasts, I cook this covered with foil in a 350˚F oven for about 45 minutes. If I’m only using dark meat then I can get away with reducing the cook time to around 30 minutes for this delicious chicken.
After it’s cooked and out of the oven, I take all the chicken pieces and the onions out of the pan and into a large bowl. After it cools down a bit you can shred it up to make it easier to fill the tortillas.
Just chicken in the flautas would be boring, so I also add in some diced tomatoes and cheese, which seems pretty traditional from other recipes I’ve read. I prefer to use pepper jack cheese, but monterey jack works as well if you don’t want that bit of spice. Personally for chicken I tend to stay away from sharp cheeses like cheddar, but all this is a matter of preference at this point.
Finally, it’s time to make the actual flautas. I just heat up my corn tortillas in the microwave to make them more pliable but if you want to go the extra mile to fry them a bit in oil before hand then more power to you. I spoon about a spoonful (or a little more) in a line down the center of the tortilla and add it to a pan with hot vegetable oil seam side down. This is kinda important since it will help the seam kind of close up from the melting cheese and you’re flautas will retain their shape (most of the time, it doesn’t always work for me obviously). I cook them from about 2-3 minutes per side until they’re nice and crispy.
When I make flautas I typically serve it with some tomatillo sauce, sour cream, and guacamole. But they’re versatile so you could use just about anything from plain salsa to queso to just sour cream. Whatever you have on hand really. But these are so good and so easy and make so many that you can even have leftover flautas for days (something I find preferable since I don’t always like to cook every night if I’m feeling particularly lazy).
- 1 lb chicken, white or dark meat
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 3 tbs olive oil
- ½ cup tequila of choice
- Juice of 1 lime
- ½ bunch cilantro
- 1 tbs cumin
- 1 tbs chili powder
- 1 tbs oregano
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 tomatoes, diced
- ½ lb grated Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- Corn tortillas
- Preheat oven to 350˚F
- In a baking dish, combine chicken, onion, olive oil, tequila, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, oregano, coriander, salt, and pepper
- Stir to coat everything evenly, cover with foil
- Bake, covered, for 45 minutes
- Let chicken cool and transfer to a large bowl, shred
- Add diced tomatoes and cheese to shredded chicken and stir to combine
- Heat tortillas in microwave to soften
- Add a spoonful of filling in the center of the tortilla and roll
- Heat vegetable oil in a pan
- Place flautas seam side down in the pan, cook for 2-3 minutes per side
- Move finished flautas to a paper towel to drain, cook remaining flautas until filling is used up