May 4th, 2006
When we had the coals going on Monday we fired up pretty much everything in the kitchen that seemed at all a likely grilling candidate. You might think I'm exaggerating but off our little Weber bucket grill rolled a whole fish, skewers of shrimp, chicken, zucchini, and mushrooms, 5 roasted bell peppers, several pork chops, and a chicken breast. It was fairly ridiculous, but it has definitely made lunch and dinner preparation easy this week.
Last night we needed to use up the chicken and Jim came up with the idea of making taquitos. I don't usually like to fry things, so we've never attempted these before, but Jim watched a neighbor make some a couple months ago and was convinced he could replicate the technique. So he was in charge of the taquitos and I made some salsa. We were out of cilantro, and I just can't bring myself to make a salsa fresca without it, so I decided to do a smooth chipotle salsa instead. We still had some roasted garlic from this weekend and most of the roasted bell peppers, so the salsa came together quickly with the addition of some canned chipotle in adobo sauce and squeezes of fresh lime and orange.
Softening the corn tortillas in the microwave really helps to avoid tearing the tortillas while rolling them around the filling. And its amazing how good just a simple filling of refried beans (canned I admit, though you could certainly make your own) and seasoned chicken can taste once the whole thing is fried in a bit of oil! Jim was surprised how little oil he needed really, as the taquitos at the end of the batch fried just as well in the film of oil left as the first ones did in their more substantial oil bath.
If we'd had some crema (Mexican sour cream) and cotija cheese around the house we would definitely have thrown those on and I've listed those as optional ingredients. But in the end our tummies were thankful for the slightly lighter dish. These were really good and easy, Jay even ate a few bites and pronounced them delicious. If you don't go crazy with the oil while frying and leave off the cream and cheese toppings, I think they're a good weeknight dinner option.
Chicken Taquitos with Roasted Pepper & Chipotle SalsaMakes 8 taquitosTaquitos
8 corn tortillas
1/2 cup refried beans
1 chicken breast, grilled or poached and shredded
salt, cumin, chili powder
canola oil for frying
1 large roasted bell pepper
1 tomato (reserve half for topping)
1 - 2 tbsp chipotle peppers in adobo (to taste)
4 cloves roasted garlic
lime juice from 1/4 of a large lime
orange juice from 1/4 of a medium orange
salt to taste
Chopped fresh tomato
Chopped fresh cilantro and/or mint
Make the salsa first, as the taquitos don't take long to cook and you'll need to be messing with them at the stove.
For the salsa:
Coarsely chop the roasted bell pepper and half the tomato. Add to a blender or food processor along with the chipotle, roasted garlic, lime juice, and orange juice. Blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings and add salt to taste.
For the taquitos:
Heat about 1/4 cup of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Wrap the stack of tortillas in a paper towel and microwave for about 15 seconds to soften (alternatively quickly fry each tortilla on both sides in the hot oil, but I prefer the microwave method, it's easier). Toss the shredded cooked chicken with some salt, cumin, and chili powder to taste. Spread a bit of refried beans down the middle of each tortilla and top with the chicken mixture.
Roll up the tortillas and place two or three in the hot pan seam side down. Don't crowd the pan. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes then flip over and cook the other side until golden. Repeat until you've cooked all the taquitos.
Top each taquito with a generous portion of salsa and chopped tomatoes. Sprinkle with cilantro and/or mint. You can also sprinkle some crumbled cotija cheese over the taquitos and drizzle the whole thing with a bit of crema to really put it over the top.
-Kymm & Jim