Shredded Beef And Cheese Flautas

Shredded beef and cheese flautas

Tomorrow is Cinco de Mayo! I always have fun making themed foods for different holidays, and Cinco de Mayo is no exception. I thought about tacos, quesadillas, and fajitas, but I've done those before. Then I asked Jeff what he thought I should do and he suggested taquitos... which made me think of flautas. I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure the distinction is that taquitos are made with corn tortillas and flautas are made with flour tortillas. Both are crunchy, fried, and filled with something tasty...

Shredded beef and cheese flautas

We decided to fill them with beef and cheese, and because I can't pass up a reason to make guacamole, I whipped up a little guacamole as well as a little pico de gallo to serve on the side. I don't really use a recipe for guacamole, but when I'm just making it for myself, I mash an avocado, squeeze one-quarter or half a lime over it, and stir a little salt and pepper and garlic powder into it. Then I let it sit for about an hour so the flavors can meld.

I'd never made pico de gallo before, so I just went with my instincts and diced one-quarter of a large, white onion and four Campari tomatoes. I mixed these together with some lime juice, finely diced jalapeno, chopped cilantro, and salt and pepper. I also set the pico aside for a bit to marry all the flavors.

Do you have recipes for pico de gallo and guacamole, or do you just throw them together?

Shredded beef and cheese flautas

Shredded Beef And Cheese Flautas (adapted from Gourmet, December 1990)
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1 pound boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and pepper
1 white onion, half sliced and half diced
2 garlic cloves, 1 peeled and smashed and one minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1/2 jalapeno chili, seeded and chopped (wear gloves or cover your hands with plastic baggies)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
8 flour tortillas
Vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup shredded cheese (if desired)
Pico de gallo and guacamole, for serving (optional)


Season beef with salt and pepper. Combine beef, sliced onion, smashed garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and enough water to cover the meat in a large saucepan.

Bring the water to a boil, and simmer the mixture, partially covered for 1 1/2 to 4 hours, or until beef is tender. (The recipe said 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but it took much closer to 4 hours for me, so just be prepared for the extra time that may be needed, and check the meat periodically.)

Let the beef cool in the broth. Scoop out the beef, and on a large plate, shred it using two forks. Reserve 1/3 cup of the broth, and discard the rest.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the diced onion and minced garlic clove, and cook, stirring frequently, until onion is softened.

Reduce heat to medium low, and add the shredded beef, tomato sauce, jalapeno chili, cumin, and reserved broth.

Season with salt and pepper. Simmer the mixture for 3 to 5 minutes, or until thickened, stirring frequently. Set filling aside to cool.

When ready to make the flautas, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Stack the flour tortillas, and wrap them in foil. Place the stack in the middle of the oven, and heat for 15 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat about 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat.

Remove one tortilla from the stack, and rewrap the rest and leave them in the oven. Spread about 3 tablespoons (you can even fit a little more) of the beef filling down the center of the tortilla.

Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of shredded cheese on top. (Also, feel free to add a little pico de gallo.)

Carefully roll up the tortilla, and cover it with plastic wrap. (You can secure the ends with toothpicks, but I found this unnecessary.) Repeat with the remaining tortillas. (If there's only two of you, you can just make four flautas one night and save the beef filling and four tortillas and make the rest the next night, which is what we did.)

Fry four flautas at a time in the hot oil. Place them seam side down first so the seam fuses a bit. Cook until golden brown on the bottom.

Then turn them over using tongs, and let the other side cook to a golden brown.

Transfer the flautas to a paper-towel-lined plate, and repeat with remaining ones.

Shredded beef and cheese flautas

Serve hot with guacamole and pico de gallo (if desired).

Shredded beef and cheese flautas

I loved these! The tortillas get incredibly crunchy, and the beef filling has some great flavor from the onions and tomato sauce. If you like spicy food, you'll have to add a bit of heat to these though. Neither of us really noticed the jalapeno in there. I consider most tortilla-based dishes vehicles for eating guacamole, and these flautas served me well. The cool avocado mixture and lively pico de gallo paired with the crisp, hot flautas hit the spot (two nights in a row).

I have a Cinco de Mayo dessert recipe coming tomorrow (as if you weren't already expecting that).

Are you going to make anything for Cinco de Mayo?