When in college a person eats Ramen noodles because they are inexpensive. But there was a time in college that frozen taquitos comprised a significant part of my weekly menu, not because they were inexpensive, but because I thought they were delicious. At the time it never occurred to me that I could make them for myself; they were beyond my young culinary capabilities. Fast forward 20 years, when I tried them again, all that I could taste was their flaws; leathery tortillas, dry meat, lackluster spices (plus a bunch of chemicals and preservatives). I felt the same way when I went back to my hometown in my 30’s. It had been the focus of my life; I had known every nook and cranny of the sleepy little town. Or when I see my ex-wife; a woman who I loved just 3 years ago; but to whom I now feel nothing (opps, a little too revealing; but she never reads my blog). The bottom line is this: Life only moves forward; just as I outgrew my home town, nothing can make eating frozen taquitos appealing again. No amount of horses and men can make Humpty Dumpty whole again. If taquitos are to ever be part of my future, so that I can share them with my kids, it is up to me to figure out how.
Chris Kimball does not have a recipe for taquitos. Of course I don’t generally trust his yankee-palate when it comes to “Mexican food”. I have been developing this recipe over the course of the past year, and am only just giving it 3-1/2 stars because there is room for improvement. The flavors are rich and delicious, but the flavors are not completely and properly balanced. Infinitely better than frozen taquitos, and represents a good starting point. I post another recipe when this recipe goes above 4-stars. (Please feel free to offer suggestions).
- To freeze taquitos, put on a waxed-paper-lined baking sheet and freeze until firm. Transfer to a resealable plastic freezer bag; they can be frozen for up to 3 months. To use frozen taquitos: put in a single layer on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400-degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- I used flour tortillas tonight, but generally make them using corn tortillas. There is a common (mis)belief that taquitos are made only with corn tortillas, and that flautas are only made with flour tortillas.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Medium/High.
Start time 1PM. Ready at 6PM.
5-lb bone-in pork butt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 cups (16 ounces) beef broth
2 medium onion
2 teaspoon table salt
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
4 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4-ounces)
1 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon lime juice
12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
Serve with: Sour cream, guacamole, salsa and lime slices.
- Pre-heat your oven to 300-degrees. Trim away any excess fat from the pork, and remove any skin (especially if you ended up with a pernil).
- Pre-heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in Dutch oven set over medium-high burner until oil begins to shimmer. Sear pork for 5 minutes per side; about 20 minutes total.
- Add beef broth to Dutch Oven, bring it up to a simmer, cover and bake for 4 hours until the pork is extremely tender. Remove pork to a large bowl and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- While the pork cools, strain the braising liquid into a fat separator and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Discard any solids.
- Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees.
- Pre-heat 1 tablespoon of pork fat (from fat separator) into now-empty dutch oven over medium-high burner. Add onions and jalapenos to pot, sprinkle with 2 teaspoon table salt. Saute until tender; about 5 minutes.
- Press garlic into the pot, and add tomato paste, cumin, oregano, chili powder, black pepper and cayenne; cook 1 minute longer.
- Pour 3/4 of liquid from the fat separator into the pot, using the liquid to deglaze the pan. Reduce for 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Meanwhile, use two forks to shred pork, then pick through with your fingers to discard any clumps of fat or other unappetizing bits. Add pork to pot with sauteed vegetables.
- Add grate cheese, and lime juice. Cook and stir until cheese is melted.
- chopped cilantro,
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- Soften tortillas by wrapping them a paper towel and microwaving them for about 30-45 seconds.
- Put 2 tablespoons of filling over lower third of a tortilla. Roll up tightly, using gravity to hold the taquito closed. (You can secure with toothpicks; or mix up your own paste by adding water to flour). Repeat rolling process with remaining tortillas.
- Bake at 400° for 8 minutes. Serve with: Sour cream, guacamole and salsa.