Introduction: Chicken Flautas or Enchiladas: Choose Your Own Adventure

About: I am finishing my MS in Marine Biology and have a lovely wife and 3 cats. I'm just learning and making and trying to find my way. Eco-toxicology is my main focus but I love microbiology and ethnic foods as w…

Today we will be making two similar and simple dishes made literally from things we had lying around.  Personally my fiance and I love Mexican and Southwest flavors.  She being from Texas likely has a large influence on this, as well as my propensity to eat whatever is prepared for me...

These dishes are pretty mush the same, the difference generally lies in the cooking method.  Up until that part, the steps are the same.  Let's get this fiesta en tu boca started!

Step 1: Whatchuneed.

Your going to want to have:
  • 1/2 cup Salsa
Note: You can use any salsa you like.  We made some Salsa Fuego (and I highly suggest this salsa for this recipe as it is AMAZINGLY flavorful...) but I think you could sub any salsa you like and have great results.  If you want to make Salsa Fuego here is the link for it.
  • 1 tablespoon Chicken Base
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (we used a pound and a half, you should use as much as you need)
  • Corn Tortillas
  • 8 oz Block of pepper jack cheese (it is just so much more convenient than making a cheese sauce...)
  • Some Milk

Step 2: Stew It.

In a medium saucepan with a lid, add the chicken breast, chicken base, paprika, salsa, and 2 cups of water(or enough to almost cover the chicken).  Stew slowly over medium heat for approximately an hour and a half or until chicken shreds apart easily with a fork. 

Step 3: Prep Work 1: Cheese Sauce

While the chicken is stewing, you can prep the cheese sauce that will adorn your enchiladas or that you can dip your flautas in.  Grate the cheese into thick or fine strings and add to a microwave safe bowl.  Coat the gratings, with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.  Just put the cornstarch in and mix it all up with your fingers.  Set aside till ready for the microwave.

Step 4: Shred the Chicken

When the chicken is easily broken apart with a fork, you should go ahead and shred it all.  Turn the heat up to high and cook out all of the excess liquid, stirring constantly.  Once the liquid is gone you should have DELICIOUS shredded chicken filling. Transfer this delicious filling to a plate and get ready for the main prep work for this recipe.

Step 5: Part 1: Flautas!!

Now for the technical aspect of this operation.  We are going to roll the filling into the corn tortillas.  This can lead to much frustration if you aren't careful, such as ripped tortillas and hurt pride.  With these steps you should be right as rain though. 

To make this easy, we like to do it assembly line style.  Get a cookie sheet to lay out the rolled flautas (seam side down...), also get your shells ready, we made about 12 or so, you can make as many as needed with the meat available. 

  If you don't have the freshest tortillas you might have a problem with them ripping,  As mentioned before, this is kind of delicate. So, get the freshest tortillas you can find or make them yourself.  But that's another instructable!

Lay one tortilla out on a plate.  Add approximately one and a half tablespoons of filling to the center of the tortilla shell.  Spread lengthwise through the center.  Fold tortilla over the chicken and smooth it till its taut, roll it up leaving the seam side down.  We included a video demonstrating this process, as it can be kind of tricky.

Make sure to leave some meat for enchiladas if you want to have both on the same night.  Once they are all rolled, set aside and preheat about 2-3 inches of oil over med high heat.

Step 6: Part the Dos, Enchiladas!

Now that the oil is nice and hot, you can assemble the enchiladas.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees while you do this.  Dunk the tortilla shells in the oil for a couple of seconds on each side turning quickly so they stay nice and pliable.  Drain well and place on a plate.  I only made about 6 or so, simply because that was how much meat I had to work with after making the flautas.  When done coating each tortilla in the oil, You can begin rolling them.  The rolling process is very much like with the flautas, only use a little more meat in each roll.  Also, these will roll much easier  because they are preheated in the oil.  Once rolled lay them out side by side in an oiled baking dish. Next pour over the top of the shells about 2/3 cup of salsa fuego or any other kind of your choosing.  Cover with foil and bake in oven for about 15 minutes.

Step 7: Back to Flautas...

Now comes the fun part.  Frying the flautas!  Make sure the oil is hot.  Then slowly add in flautas seam side down, careful not to burn your fingers.  Gently apply pressure to each flauta for a few seconds each to keep them from unrolling on you.  Then fry for a couple minutes on each side or until crispy and brown all around.  Drain well and place on a wire rack to rest while you fry the rest. 

Note: These actually turned out a little greasy on the inside, I think when you take them out for cooling and draining you should cut them in half.  I believe this should alleviate any drainage issues to be had after the frying process.

Step 8: Dont Forget the Cheese...

Now that you've started cooking the flautas/enchiladas, you can start the cheese sauce.  Add about 1/2 cup of milk and microwave on high in one minute intervals stirring in between until smooth and melted.  Once it is done, I leave mine in the microwave until I need it and then just zap it for 30 seconds to make super hot again.  You can use this sauce on top of the enchiladas or to dip the flautas in.  I also serve my flautas with salsa, guacamole, sour cream or all of them if there is a crowd.  The best part of flautas are the the different toppings for them!

And that is it.  Two entrees in one depending on preference and desired cooking method.  Enjoy!

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