as you may have figured out by now, the way my husband’s heart is through pizza. but the way to my heart? tex-mex. i love breakfast tacos and huevos rancheros in the morning. i go mad for taco salads and taquitos at lunch. and i crave enchiladas and tamales for dinner. i want tex-mex all day e’ry day. chips and salsa are my go-to diet foods. guacamole is my favorite version of a green salad. nachos have stolen my heart. i guess what i’m trying to say is…i really, really, really love tex-mex.
annnd since moving to Georgia we have found it to be in very short supply. which i was anticipating. after living in Virginia for two years and Tennessee for four, i learned that you just can’t get good tex-mex north of Texarkana. womp. womp. in fact, before we moved here we came over for a weekend to find a place to live, and after a horrendous weekend of apartment/house hunting my sweet hubby tried to lift my spirits by taking me to get mexican food. he was sure it would be almost as good as what we get in Texas. i was not so optimistic.
turns out, not so optimistic was the right attitude to have. the restaurant we went to (which is a chain- what the heck Georgia?) was terrible! i’m pretty sure they used marinara sauce for their enchiladas. i used to think it was hard to make bad tex-mex…turns out i was wrong. no offense Georgia- y’all do lots of other things really well…like grow peaches, and….other things i’m sure. just not tex-mex.
so, i’ve been trying to meet
our my tex-mex needs at home. and my favorite way to do that is to make taquitos. these are the quintessential go-to tex-mex snack. or meal. for one. no judgement. in case you are not familiar with tex-mex deliciousness, allow me to educate you: taquitos (or flautas as they are sometimes called) are amazing bundles of crsipy-fied yumminess. you take a corn tortilla, fill it with shredded beef or chicken, deep fry it, and enjoy. don’t believe that lie that you can use flour tortillas for this dish. don’t do it! you will be sad. because it tastes weird. the corn tortilla gets thin and crispy, flour tortillas puff up and hold on to the grease. gross.
the most amazing lesson in deep-frying you will ever get:
if you’re nervous about deep-frying something- don’t be, you’ve got this! and i’m going to walk you through it. fill a large stock-pot about halfway full of veggie or canola oil. put it on the stove and turn the heat on to medium-low (around 3-4 if your stove goes up to 8 or 10). while the oil is heating you can assemble the taquitos, but keep an eye on the oil- you don’t want it to get too hot. before you put any taquitos in, test the temperature of the oil. too hot and the taquitos will burn on the ends and not cook in the middle- too cold and they will just sit in oil, soaking up a lot of it before cooking and that will make them really greasy.
testing the oil is really simple: just put a tiny piece of tortilla in it. if it sinks to the bottom without bubbling at all the oil is still too cold. if it starts bubbling furiously and browns almost immediately, its too hot. what you are looking for is a piece that bubbles gently as soon as it goes into the oil and sinks a tiny bit before the bubbles bring it back to the top. if your temperature isn’t right don’t panic. i repeat: don’t panic. just adjust the temp on the stove and try again in a few minutes.
once you start cooking your taquitos remember the temperature will drop the more things you put in the oil so you may need to turn the heat up. while your taquitos are cooking you are looking for a nice, steady stream of gentle bubbles. the taquitos should float (if they sink the oil is too cold), so you will need to turn them periodically to cook them on all sides. once the taquitos are the perfect shade of golden brown and the ends are all crunchified take them out and drain them on a paper towel. and now friend, you are a deep-fry master. mistress. champion? whatever title you want, you can now deep fry it all. and i highly recommend that you do.
- 4 c. canola oil
- 5 oz. cream cheese
- 1 c. cooked chicken breast, shredded
- 1 t. cumin
- 1 t. garlic
- 1/2 t. onion powder
- 1/2 t. lemon pepper
- 1/2 t. salt
- 12 corn tortillas at room temperature or slightly warmed
- 12 toothpicks
- Put oil in a large saucepan and set heat to medium-low. While oil is heating up, combine cream cheese and next 6 ingredients. Lay out tortillas- if you use cold tortillas they will crack before you can get them into the oil!
- Spread about 1 to 1 1/2 T. of filling across entire face of tortilla. Roll up- chicken mixture should be sticky enough to hold tortilla before it goes into the oil, but secure it with a toothpick through the middle of the tortilla to keep it rolled while frying.
- Check temperature of the oil by putting a small piece of tortilla in. If oil bubble gently around tortilla and tortilla floats the oil is ready. Using tongs place taquitos in the oil and cook about 8 minutes each, turning halfway through, until taquito is golden brown and crisp. Remove from oil and place on paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining taquitos. Serve with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream and enjoy!