Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flautas De Pollo con Guacamole – “Chicken Flutes with Guacamole”

I love this recipe.  I don’t often make it because it’s (by no means) the healthiest of entrees.  In my next life, I pray that shallow frying is the caloric equivalent to spraying with PAM…  
Anyway, this is a great dish that always gets my husband pacing back and forth with anticipation in the kitchen – I love him dearly, but this habit of his drives me bonkers.  I first learned to make chicken flutes with Magdalena Cortes, a talented Mexican-born chef who taught cooking classes at “Upstairs at Loblaws” in Toronto, where I worked to help support myself through chef school.  In a nutshell, it’s a dish that consists of a small rolled up tortilla and some type of filling (usually beef or chicken) which is fried until crisp.  Flautas are also referred to as Taquitos, but the main difference is that flautas are most often prepared with flour tortillas while Taquitos are prepared with corn tortillas.
I love the contrast of the juicy chicken, hot crispy tortilla and creamy avocado against the cool sour cream.  I’ve also made flautas with breaded (fried) fish, vinaigrette-based coleslaw and guacamole, and they were delicious too.
If you’re like me and you can’t get away down south this winter, try your hand at making these instead!

Makes 40 small flautas which serves about 10 people – recipe halves well.
ingredients for flautas

·         3 (three) tablespoons olive oil
·         1 (one) large sweet onion, minced
·         4 (four) large cloves garlic, minced
·         4 (four) large boneless and skinless chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into very small pieces
·         3 (three) round ripened hot house tomatoes, chopped (use 5 if using plum tomatoes)
·         1 (one) cup salsa (I used our spicy pineapple-chipotle salsa from the shop)
·         40 (forty) flour tortillas (medium size, 6-7 inches approx).
·         salt and pepper to taste
·         vegetable oil, for shallow frying
·         toothpicks
·         sour cream, for serving
·         additional salsa, for serving
·         guacamole (see below recipe), for serving

method for flautas
1.       In a skillet, heat the olive oil.  Add the onion and cook over medium-low heat until translucent, add garlic and tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes or so.
2.       Stir in the cooked, chopped chicken and salsa. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
3.       Fill each tortilla with approx. ¼ (one-quarter) cup of the filling and then roll each one “burrito style”, securing each end with a toothpick (so that the filling doesn’t fall out). Tip – the tortilla’s are even easier to roll up if they are slightly warm (nuke a batch of 10 for about 30 seconds in the microwave).
4.       In a large skillet, heat about one cup of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.  Once hot, fry the flautas in batches (about 8 at a time if using a 10-12” skillet) until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes, turning once.  
(Note: the oil needs to be at the right temperature – around 350 F.  If the oil is too cool, the flautas will be greasy. If the oil is too hot, the flatuas will burn).

5.       Drain on paper towels, discard toothpicks.
6.       Serve immediately, topping the flutes with sour cream, guacamole and additional salsa.

ingredients for guacamole
·         2 (two) ripened avocados
·         Zest and juice of one lime
·         1 (one) tablespoon white onion, minced
·         1/3 (one-third) cup fresh cilantro, chopped (feel free to omit if you don’t care for cilantro)
·         1 (one) teaspoon jalapeno pepper, minced
·         ½ clove garlic, minced
·         1-2 (one to two) tablespoons sour cream
·         salt and pepper to taste

method for guacamole
1.       Cut avocados in half and take the pit out with the edge of a knife.
2.       Spoon the avocado flesh out and place it in a bowl.  Mash well with a fork.
3.       Add lime zest and juice, onion, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic and mix well.  Stir in sour cream to achieve a creamy consistency (I use about 2 tablespoons). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

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