My love affair with chicken flautas began mere weeks ago. We had our first date at a Mexican restaurant in Houston, and I knew that there would be more dates in the no-so-distant future. The last month has just been a whirlwind of romance.
You can ask anyone who knows me, and they will tell you that I hate making decisions. The worst is when someone asks me where I want to go for dinner. The only thing that I can do usually is narrow it down by saying, “not Mexican.” I have always disliked beans, rice, anything spicy, peppers, onions, salsa, and really just anything else that you can find at a Mexican restaurant that is not a chip. I am proud to say that my taste buds have grown recently, and there are now lots of things from that list that I like. Unfortunately for friends and family, that means that I can no longer offer even that meager narrowing of the choices for eating out.
I was motivated to try making these by two things: my newfound love of flautas, and my brother wanted me to make something Mexican (there aren’t that many great places to find spicy food in Kitchener) so he can make it. It’s awesome that he makes things from my blog, so I am trying to be accommodating.
Frying these was a bit of a pain, so if you are not ready to sign up for the mess these are actually really good just uncooked like a soft taco or you could probably make them in the oven. They just wouldn’t be as crispy. I found a package of frozen, shredded chicken that was already cooked, so I went the lazy route with that. You could either use leftover chicken from another meal or buy a chicken and shred the meat yourself. I figured that I was already putting in a lot of effort with the frying. These are well worth the effort, and I am excited to eat leftovers for dinner tonight!
Chicken Flautas with Avocado Cream
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed and meat finely shredded
1 cup salsa
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded Cheddar/Monterey jack blend
1 lime, juiced
16 (5 to 6 inch) tortillas (I cut the recipe in half and used slightly larger tortillas so I ended up with 6 flautas)
2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce, for serving (I just used this for garnish)
You might also want to have toothpicks
For the Avocado Cream
1 very ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and flesh removed
1 (4 oz) container sour cream
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
Fill a large pot with enough oil to reach 2 inches up the side of the pan. I realized a little too late that I only had about an inch of oil, so I just had to turn the flautas to fry both sides. Heat oil over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reads 375 degrees F. I don’t have a thermometer, but it’s a safe bet that the oil is ready if it bubbles when you put the end of a wooden spoon in it. You don’t want it to start smoking; that will be too hot.
To make the flautas: In a pan over medium heat melt butter and saute onions and jalapenos until tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper and cook until fragrant, another 2 minutes (that kind of made me laugh because garlic, cumin, and cayenne are already pretty fragrant but whatever). Add chicken and salsa; stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, cheese, and lime juice. Let cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Spread a heaping spoonful of the mixture along the middle of each tortilla. Roll tortilla tightly around the filling and secure with a toothpick. I found it easiest to roll up all of the tortillas before I started frying anything. Using tongs, hold each flauta in hot oil until firm, then release to continue cooking. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate and immediately season with salt. I did about a minute and a half per side due to my shallow oil, and it worked out just fine. Keep flautas warm in the oven on a sheet tray while cooking the remaining tortillas.
To make the avocado cream: In a serving bowl, mach avocado, sour cream, and lime juice until smooth. I left it a little bit chunky because I love avocado. Season with salt, to taste.