The word flauta translates to flute in Spanish, but in culinary terms it refers to a popular Mexican dish consisting of a flour tortilla, tightly rolled around a filling of meat and cheese and fried until crisp.
Ours are made with boneless chicken, Pepper Jack cheese, scallions and cilantro and served with a brightly-flavored, chunky tomatillo sauce. We found that baking them still yields a deliciously crispy flauta, but with far less work, fat and calories.
Baked Chicken Flautas with Chunky Tomatillo Sauce
- 1-1/4 lbs chicken tenderloins
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil
- 4 to 5 scallions, sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 8 ounces coarsely shredded Pepper Jack cheese, about 2 cups
- 8 flour tortillas (8-inch)
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded and sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped
- 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 lb tomatillos, about 6 medium, cored and cut into small cubes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and line a shallow baking pan with aluminum foil. Brush the foil with a little bit of olive oil and set aside.
- Combine the cumin, coriander, salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl.
- Trim any visible tendons from the chicken tenderloins and season them on both sides with the spice mixture.
- Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer and cook until lightly browned and just cooked through, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a cutting board and cut or shred the tenderloins into small pieces.
- Place the chicken in a bowl, add the scallions and cilantro and toss to combine.
- Lay a tortilla on flat surface and spread about 1/4 cup of the chicken mixture over the bottom third. Top with approximately 1/4 cup of the Jack cheese, roll tightly and place, seam side down on the prepared baking pan. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and set aside while you start the sauce.
- Return the pan you cooked the chicken in to the stove (no need to clean it), add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the jalapeños and garlic and continue cooking just until the garlic is fragrant, 1 minute longer. Stir in the chicken broth and tomatillos, season with salt and pepper and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the tomatillos have broken down and the sauce has thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro and remove from the heat.
- While the sauce cooks, brush the flautas liberally with olive oil and place them in the oven until golden on top, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and, using tongs, carefully turn them over and brush with a little additional oil. Return to the oven until that side is golden as well, 3 to 4 minutes longer.
- To serve, spoon the tomatillo sauce either alongside or over the flautas and garnish with lime wedges.