This recipe is the closest I’ve found to the flautas once served at stands on Olvera Street in Los Angeles when I was a kid. From just tacos: 100 Delicious Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Makes 4 flautas; serves 2 as a snack or a light meal
4 corn tortillas
1 cup shredded roasted or Poached Chicken (see p. 74 of the book)
two 6-inch bamboo skewers
⅔ cup cooked Tomatillo Salsa (see p. 33 of the book)
2 to 3 cups vegetable oil for frying
¼ cup Mexican crema or créme fraîche
⅓ cup crumbled queso fresco
Flautas get their name from their shape: a corn tortilla rolled around a filling then deep-fried to hold its flute-like shape. Flautas are considered fried tacos, or tacos dorados. At one of Mexico City’s most famous flautas stands they are served leaning into a bowl with a thinned-down cooked tomatillo salsa that acts as soup and dipping sauce, sprinkled with thick cream and queso fresco, and eaten by hand.
Place a tortilla on a plate, add ¼ cup of chicken, and roll the tortilla around the filling, putting a plate on top of it once formed to hold its shape. Continue with the other 3 tortillas and the rest of the chicken. Once all of the flautas are rolled, pierce 2 together with a bamboo skewer, forming a “raft.” Do the same with the remaining flautas and skewer.
Heat the tomatillo salsa, with a little chicken stock or water to thin, if necessary, in a small saucepan and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a wok or a wide 4- to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat until hot. Fry the 2 “rafts” in the oil, turning over once or twice, until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain and remove the skewers, if desired.
Divide the tomatillo salsa between 2 wide, shallow bowls and rest 2 flautas on the rim of each bowl with one end in the sauce. Drizzle the flautas with crema or créme fraîche and sprinkle with cheese. Hold the flauta with your fingers to eat, dipping the end in the sauce.
Poached Chicken and Chicken Stock
Makes 5 cups shredded chicken and about 2 quarts chicken stock
1 whole chicken (3-½ pounds), cut into serving pieces (or 3-½ pounds chicken parts)
2-½ quarts water
1 white onion, quartered
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled
3 large cilantro sprigs 3 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns 1 teaspoon salt
Typically meat and chicken are cooked in water to provide both meat for the main dish and stock for making the sauces that are the main focus of most Mexican dishes. Store-bought rotisserie chicken can also be used in these recipes, but you will need broth as well. Make sure the roasting pot is big enough to hold water to cover the meat.
Put the chicken in a 6 to 8-quart pot with the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer over high heat, skimming any foam from the surface as necessary. Reduce the heat and simmer until the chicken is just cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Remove the chicken pieces from the stock. When they’re cool enough to handle, remove the skin from the chicken and shred the meat.
Strain the stock into a large, wide bowl, discarding the vegetables.
Note: The chicken and chicken stock can be kept chilled (cool completely first) for 3 days or frozen for up to 6 months.
Variation: Poached Turkey
Poach a 3- to 4-pound turkey breast or thighs in the same manner. Thighs will take about 45 minutes to cook through.
Cooked Tomatillo Salsa
This sauce is extremely versatile and can be added to many tacos. The unique acidity of tomatillos complements other vegetables and makes a great sauce for both meats and seafood.
Makes 2 cups
1 pound tomatillos, husked and rinsed
1 to 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, stems discarded
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Put the tomatillos and chiles in a medium, heavy pot and cover with cold water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer the tomatillos and chiles, uncovered, turning them occasionally so they cook evenly, until the tomatillos are khaki-green and soft but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.
Gently lift the tomatillos and one of the chiles out of the pot and put them in the blender along with the garlic cloves, cumin, and salt. Blend until smooth. If you’d like a spicier sauce, add the other chile and blend again until smooth. Reserve the cooking water and wipe the pot dry.
Heat the oil in the dry pot over medium-high heat and carefully add the blended mixture (it may splatter). Simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes. Stir in 1 cup of the reserved cooking water and gently simmer for 5 minutes more. Check the seasoning for salt.
Note: The salsa will keep in the refrigerator for 1 week.
100 Delicious Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
The Taunton Press
Text ©2011 by Shelley Wiseman
Photographs ©2011 by Romulo Yanes
All rights reserved.