Friday, August 29, 2014

Flautas - Fun to Say, Easy to Gobble Down

Good evening everyone!  On my never-ending quest to find (relatively) healthy, Mexican food, I stumbled upon this gem of a recipe.  While it could be reminiscent of a particular school dish (Crispitos, anyone?) these are far, far healthier and not mass produced for hundreds of hungry minds. I feel like this is an often overlooked Mexican dish, but will not be forgotten any time soon.

The Recipe:  Baked Chicken & Spinach Flautas
Adapted Recipe Found From:

What You'll Need:
1 Pound boneless, skinless Chicken Thighs
16 Ounces Beer (or Chicken Broth)
2 Cups Water
1 Teaspoon Paprika
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon ground Cumin
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1 Jalapeño pepper, minced
3 Cups Baby Spinach, chopped
5 burrito-sized Flour Tortillas
6 Ounces Mexican Cheese, or other melting cheese, shredded

To start, place the chicken thighs in a deep-sided, non-stick skillet and cover with the beer and water. Cover with a lid and raise the temperature to medium-high heat.  Once at a boil, reduce the heat of the skillet to a simmer and cook the chicken for 10 minutes, keeping the lid on the skillet.  Once cooked, remove the chicken from the skillet and place on a cutting board.  Let the chicken cool for several minutes, then begin to shred the meat.  Place the meat in a large mixing bowl and add the paprika, salt, garlic, powder, cumin, and chili powder.  Mix all these ingredients together until well combined.

Next, preheat an oven to 450 degrees and spray a large cooking sheet with cooking spray.  Meanwhile, reserve 1/4 cup of the beer/water mixture and pour out the rest.  Bring the skillet back to medium-low heat and add the reserved liquid back to the skillet.  Add the jalapeño and spinach to the skillet and cook for three to five minutes, or until the spinach has wilted.

By now, all the ingredients have been cooked and are ready for assemble.  Cut the tortillas in half and set aside.  Place 1/2 tortilla on a clean preparing board and spoon a tablespoon of the chicken mixture on the inside straight edge of the tortilla.  Repeat with the spinach and cheese.  Roll the tortilla tightly and place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining tortillas.

Spray the flautas with cooking spray and place the baking sheet in the oven.  Bake for 10 minutes, then flip over and continue to cook for five minutes, or until crispy.  Serve with salsa and enjoy!

The End Result:

I'm quite pleased with the results of these flautas.  For the first time hearing about them, not to mention baking them, they were quite superb!  The seasonings of the chicken definitely mellowed out during the cooking process and you don't really notice the spinach.  It helps when the spinach has been cooked down and it's not much more than filler ingredient.  The cheese is definitely a binder and ties all the ingredients together.  Baking this dish, instead of frying it, makes it noticeably healthier too.  One flauta is about 180 calories, plus being delicious, is a win-win in my book!

Thanks for joining us tonight.  Check back on Sunday for a brand new recipe from Tyler.  Until then,


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