04 September 2011

Quick Mexican Flautas

Years ago I started making these flautas for my Mexican food loving family, specifically to use the tomatillos I grew in my garden.  They have been a favorite ever since!  The tomatillos still have volunteer plants 10 years later in my garden space.  I really never have the heart to pull them out!  A large and lovely plant of bright green, small leaves gives its harvest around late August in Michigan.  I adore the papery husks that hold the fruit and watch them carefully, so the fruit doesn't drop.  Of course the volunteer plants don't give as large of a harvest as those started from seed in the spring, but for the few dishes I make with tomatillos, it's plenty!

My flautas are a bit non-traditional as I have adjusted the recipe to fit our tastes and time constraints over the years.   We prefer to use flour tortillas and we love when the chicken filling is juicy, so we make them larger.  Pan frying is a breeze in summer on the grill side burner and juicy red tomatoes and sour cream are the perfect side versus a gravy that I've had in restaurants.  You can also save some of the salsa verde to serve alongside if you like or sprinkle with some Mexican cheese when the flautas come out of the hot oil.


3 cups chopped, cooked chicken
1+ cup salsa verde
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar (*gasp* I used the bagged Kraft kind)
3 Tablespoons Fresh Cilantro, minced
8 10 inch flour tortillas
1+ cup vegetable oil or shortening- enough to fry flautas turning once

In a large mixing bowl, combine ingredients to form a juicy paste that slightly sticks together when squeezed.  Lay out each tortilla and evenly fill with mixture, I used about 1/3 cup of filling per tortilla.  Roll up tortilla and secure edge with a toothpick.   Heat oil in large saute pan to high, but not smoking.  Lay in a few flautas at a time, being cautious not to overfill pan, as it lowers the temperature of the oil quickly and your flautas will be oil soaked inside.  Fry about 3 minutes per side until golden brown and crispy.  Serve with your choice of sides; guacamole, salsa verde, tomatoes, sour cream, etc.  Surprisingly enough, these warm up great the next day and taste even better!!!

 I still make the salsa verde (green salsa) when I have time and tomatillos, but the jarred salsa verde is really pretty good.  If you are interested in making your own salsa verde it's absolutely easy and the best!  I d not use a recipe because it depends what my garden offers up in quantity, but the "bones" of the recipe are this:

Fresh tomatillos, husks removed and quartered
Onions, chopped
Cubanelle or Pablano Peppers
Jalapenos, Serranos or Banana peppers
Chili powder
Salt & Pepper
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
Fresh Cilantro 

Throw all together into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, using the chili powder, vinegar, lime juice, salt & pepper to give depth to the salsa.  I cook 20-30 minutes until thick and saucy, adding the cilantro when cooking is complete.   

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