Chicken Flautas

Friday, 26 Sep 2008

Another Las Cruces, NM favorite, named after their flute-like shape –  “flauta” means flute in Spanish.  This is a pretty cheesy intro, but I’m trying to add some local flavor for all you non-New Mexicans out there. This is a great way to use chicken you already have cooked.  These make a good appetizer or finger food for parties, too.

1 large cooked chicken breast, chopped
8 corn tortillas
¼ cup chopped onions
1 cup vegetable oil
Shredded Mexican cheese
16 toothpicks

Preheat oven to 400. Sautee onions until soft.  Add chicken breast and cook until warmed through.  Set aside a plate lined with paper towels for draining tortillas.  Heat vegetable oil on medium-high heat in a large pan until it bubbles when a tortilla is added.  Dip each tortilla in the hot oil until softened, about two seconds.  Remove and drain on paper towels.  Remove oil from heat.

To make flautas, place tortillas flat and fill with about 2 tablespoons of chicken. Some people like to add cheese within the flautas, but I like to sprinkle it on top like they do at La Posta in Mesilla, NM, one of my family’s favorite restaurants.  After filling flautas, roll tightly and secure with two toothpicks each.

Reheat oil on medium-high. Set aside a plate lined with paper towels for draining.  Fry flautas for 1-2 minutes on each side, until crispy.  They should be done enough to hold their shape when the toothpicks are removed.  Remove from oil and drain.

When all flautas are done, remove toothpicks.  Place flautas in an oven-safe dish.  Sprinkle with cheese and place in oven until cheese is melted, approximately 5 minutes.

Serve with salsa and garnish with sour cream and cilantro. These would be good served with Hot Mexican Rice.

I like to be efficient with ingredients I have on hand and left-overs.  Tonight I had a few items I wanted to use besides the chicken breast, including white rice, Tomatillo Salsa, and queso fresco.  I decided to serve the flautas with a couple other dishes as a buffet of Mexican (instead of Spanish) tapas, or small plates.  I made a chopped salad with lettuce, red peppers, apples, red onions and queso fresco, very similar to Chopped Salad with Zesty Lime-Dijon Dressing.  The other dish was white rice topped with tomatillo salsa (also known as salsa verde) and queso fresco.  To go put out some tortilla chips with Sadie’s salsa and tomatillo salsa.

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