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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Flautas de Pollo....with Salsa Verde

Flautas de Pollo |
If there is one meal that I have a long-running love affair with, it's this one. I've always craved Mexican's a long-running joke (or fact, depending on who you are) that since my first solid food as a baby was refried beans, therefore I fell in love with all Mexican food at an early age. I'm of the school that sees it as fact. About 8 or 9 years ago, a (then) friend of mine taught me how to make flautas. His mother made them this way in her restaurant in Mexico...of which, unfortunately, I don't remember the name or location.

I have been making this the way he taught me ever since. It is very simple, yet a little time consuming. I have never met a person who didn't LOVE it! Certain persons, who shall remain unnamed, have been known to hold off eating for an entire day leading up to the meal, just so they can eat more. There is something strangely addicting about this dish...especially if assembled as I am going to show/tell you. All of the ingredients meld together so perfectly to build a mouthwatering, habit-forming, finger-licking mess of deliciousness.

I've done my best to give you amounts of each ingredient. This recipe as a whole is very forgiving. If you don't have the exact amount of any ingredient, just come close and it will still taste great. It also makes what would seem like a huge amount of food....but if you have any leftovers, store them in the fridge and eat them up later! I've been known to eat them cold for breakfast. Or you can cut the recipe in half, but I figure if you're going to take the time to make them, you may as well make a big batch.

Flautas de Pollo w/ Salsa Verde (Rolled Chicken Tacos w/ Green Salsa)
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by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: fry entree sauce chicken tomatillos tortillas Mexican

Ingredients (~5 dozen)
    • 2-1/2 - 3 pounds chicken breast
    • 2 small onions, halved
    • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
    • small handful cilantro, ripped in half
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
    • few black peppercorns
    • 1/2 of a small head of green cabbage, remove core & shred thinly
    • juice of 2 limes
    • 2 tablespoons salt
    Salsa Verde:
    • 1 pound tomatillos, husked & rinsed
    • 2 jalapenos, stemmed
    • 6-8 cloves garlic, peeled
    • small handful cilantro, mostly leaves
    • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
    • water or chicken broth, as needed
    Everything else:
    • ~60 Corn Tortillas
    • Vegetable Oil, for frying
    • 1-2 tomatoes, sliced
    • 1-2 avocado, pitted & sliced
    • Mexican Crema
    • Queso Fresco, crumbled
    for the chicken:
    Put all ingredients into a pot large enough to hold all & cover with water by about an inch. Bring to a boil. Boil for about 2 minutes, then put a tight fighting lid on pot and turn off heat. Set aside to let chicken finish cooking. Do not remove lid for at least 30 minutes. Remove chicken and shred into long shreds. Reserve. I usually strain the cooking broth and use it later for soup or when a recipe needs stock or broth.

    for the cabbage:
    Do this step while chicken is cooking. It's very simple to shred cabbage by hand. Cut a half of a cabbage in half again; angle your knife 45 degrees & cut out core. Sit on flat side and slice into long shreds. Put in a large bowl.

    Squeeze lime juice over cabbage (use more than 2 if they're not very juicy). Add salt, then cover everything with cold water. Stir everything around, cover and put in fridge until ready to serve.

    for the salsa:
    Put tomatillos, jalepenos & garlic in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Simmer until softened (tomatillos & jalepenos will be a dull green). Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a blender jar; discard water. Add ~1/2 c. cold water & cilantro to blender. Blend all to a puree. Add salt to taste. Salsa should be runny (pourable, not chunky); this is sometimes called Ranchero Sauce or Blender Salsa. Reserve.

    Wrap tortillas in a clean kitchen towel and microwave for about 4-5 minutes. They should be very pliable to make for easy rolling. Place a little shredded chicken on one side of a tortilla. Roll tightly & pierce with a toothpick; repeat until all are rolled (2 tortillas per toothpick). I heat ~3/4" vegetable oil in a 10" skillet until it ripples...don't let it smoke. When oil is ready to fry, place about 4 toothpicks (8 flautas) in. Flip once bottom is golden & crispy. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.

    to assemble and eat:
    Place the flautas on your plate and smother them with the salsa, (strained) cabbage, and other toppings.  Or eat the goodies on the side.  Up to you - just enjoy!

    Don't eat this with a fork...pick it up and prepare to get messy! I love eating with my fingers...and this is a meal that calls for it., lick fingers, repeat.
    Flautas de Pollo w/ Salsa Verde