Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Flautas De Pollo

Flautas, also referred to as tacos dorados are rolled tacos fried in oil until crisp (or golden I guess, given the name). There are a number of approaches, the most common seems to use a rather dry filling of shredded chicken which is rolled into quite a tight and dense roll and fried. However you also see versions where the shredded chicken is bound in either a salsa verde or a salsa roja and then rolled. The flautas are then served with some crumbled queso fresco on top and some salsa.

I'm not going to go into a huge level of detail. The preparation of both salsa verde and salsa roja cocida have been covered already so generally the dish is just and assembly of already familiar items. I'm going to cover three variations, one with no salsa in the filling, another with a salsa verde and a final one with a salsa roja.

Tacos Dorados
In this version the chicken is bound in a salsa of cooked tomatoes.The fist step is to blend a ripe tomato, a clove of garlic and about a quarter cup of onion (about a half of a smallish onion, however the onions I have here are about the size of softballs, so I normally use about 1/8 of one of those) in a blender. You may need a splash of water to get the blades spinning, it's not a bog deal as the salsa is going to be cooked out and reduced before using anyway.

This puree of tomato onion and garlic pops up again and again in Mexican cooking. We have already seen it in the preparation of Rajas and it will appear again when I cover Arroz a  la Mexicana (Mexican Rice). The puree is placed into a pan and cooked down for 10 minutes or so until the tomato has cooked out and the salsa has reduced. At this point the shredded chicken can be added and warmed through.

To assemble the flautas (flauta means flute and refers to the shape) place a heaped tablespoon of the filling on one side of a warmed corn tortilla and roll up. You can use a toothpick to secure the flauta, but it's not really necessary. They stay together fine if they are stacked with the seam downwards and they will not come apart when frying as long as they are fried for a couple of second with the seam down to allow the tortilla to crispen.
The flautas can be deep fried, if you have a deep-fryer and could be bothered, however they are fine when cooked in a half inch or so of corn oil and rotated while cooking.

If there is some salsa in the filling I like to serve them with just some crumbled queso fresco (feta would be a good substitute here), but they can also be served with salsa over the top much as an enchilada would be and can also be served with crema or guacamole.

Flautas De Pollo con Salsa Verde
Pretty similar to the preparation above except this time the chicken is bound in a Salsa De Tomate Verde Cocida. 

Flautas De Pollo
The names I am using are very arbitrary however finally we come to the simplest version, and the one most similar to what I see colleagues sometimes eat for lunch. In this case the shredded chicken is not bound with a salsa. You can add some sautéed sliced onion and pepper to the chicken. I like to use short slices, preferably less than 2 inches long, to avoid having long strings of onion flopping about as you bite the flauta.

There are a number of other possible fillings for a flauta. One suggested by Diana Kennedy is of Rajas de Poblano. The rajas would need to be drier than I have given in the earlier recipe to successfully use as a filling, however the principle is the same.

At some future point I will cover some of the other possible fillings. I'd particularly like to cover  some of the beef fillings.

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