Monday, February 9, 2009

CSA week nine - Taquitos with guacamole

The guidebooks will tell you: if you go to any taquerilla in San Diego (other than Rubio's Fish Tacos where you want to order the specialty), the thing to get is "three rolled with guac". That is: three rolled tacos--chicken or beef--topped with cheese and guacamole. Today, I made chicken.

Really, this stemmed from having a ripe avocado and tomato, some leftover cilantro and no clever ideas defaulting me down to guacamole. But if I'm going to make guac I may as well put it to good use.

I searched around and found a good-looking recipe here. Now that I've poked through his site a bit, I see he's got a lot of authentic but doable Mexican recipes. I'm going to have to try out some more of those.

I cut the recipe down to a third to use the two chicken thighs I had in the freezer, but otherwise I followed it straight:

"Ingredients: Shredded Chicken

1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 teas. seasoned salt [I used adobo con sazon which is probably what he meant)
1 teas. pepper
3/4 teas. garlic powder
2 teas. onion powder
2 teas. chili powder
3/4 teas. cumin powder
1/2 teas. oregano
2 dry bay leaves
enough water to cover chicken ( about 2-3 cups )

Ingredients: Taquitos

shredded chicken
15 to 20 6in. corn tortillas
3 to 4 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying

Method: Shredded Chicken Taquitos

Wash chicken thoroughly and place in a medium sized skillet and add just enough water to cover the chicken. Add all ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes or until the chicken can be shredded using a wood spatula. If there is any liquid left simply turn up the heat and allow the liquid to evaporate. Let the shredded chicken cool enough to work with.

While the chicken is cooking, add the oil to another medium sized skillet. Only use enough oil to go half way up the side of the pan so when you start frying the oil won’t spill over. Heat oil to 350 degrees and lightly fry the tortillas, on both sides, using a pair of tongs, for about 5 to 10 seconds total. All you are doing here is making them pliable enough to roll, you don’t want them crispy yet, that will come later. Stack the cooked tortillas on a plate and when all of the tortillas are done, flip the whole stack over. this will allow the oil on the tortillas to drip evenly over all of them. Turn off the heat on the oil while you are rolling the taquitos. [I wasn't sure how many tortillas I would need so I prepared eight. I only used five so the rest I chopped into sixths, fried until crisp, sprinkled with salt and lime as they drained and stored in a paper bag for later.

Take about 2 spoonfuls ( about 2 ounces ) [I found a little less than one ounce filled a tortilla to my liking. Skimpy fillings is the San Diego style.] of the chicken and place it in a line across the center of a tortilla and roll it up. Use a toothpick to keep it closed by inserting it at the edge of the tortilla and running it through the center. Continue this process until all of the chicken has been used, you should get somewhere between 15 and 20 taquitos. I like to place them on a piece of foil after rolling them because I don’t have to wash it later but a plate will work fine.

After they are all rolled up you can start to fry them in the 350 degree oil ( turn the heat back on when there are only a few taquitos left to roll ). Fry a few at a time on both sides until golden brown, they will take about 2 minutes a side. Remove to a plate and remove the toothpick. Top with guacamole, shredded lettuce, shredded cheese and tomatoes and a little bit of hot sauce. Toppings are always optional, you can really put anything on them you want, this is just what I put on them." [Cheese usually goes over the guac, but I like mine under so it melts a little. I used half cheddar and half queso fresco. Over the guac I added a little onion, a little tomato and some hot sauce. The guac was a pretty standard recipe; I won't bore you with it.]
Back at the originating site there's an attached recipe for Mexican rice, but I wasn't feeling up to it. Instead I just put the rice in the rice cooker with the water I simmered the chicken in and some tomato and onion. Not at all bad, really.

I thought it turned out really well. The chicken was a little on the dry side--maybe I should have packed it in more tightly so it would keep out the oil and steam instead of deep fry--but still nicely spiced. All the flavors were there just as they're supposed to be. It's not quite the same as the authentic San Diego rolled tacos; they're not cheap and trashy, it's not 3 a.m. and I'm not drunk so no Ratatouille dolly-zoom flashbacks but still, pretty darn good.


kat said...

Oh man those look good & I'm not drunk either

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill,

This is David ( the guy from San Diego ). I'm happy to see you spreading the word about my taquito recipe... thanks for trying it. I noticed that your chicken came out a little dry. A nice trick I use to keep it moist and juicy is to let it cool down in the liquid, this will allow the chicken to absorb the broth.

It looks like you like to cook like I do... I'll have to come back here and check out some of your recipes, they look delicious.

Thanks again,

billjac said...

Thanks for the tip and for making your recipe available, David. I particularly appreciate learning about that broth. In the taquerias I'd see the chefs fishing the richly-flavored meat out of big buckets of broth and I never thought it was reproducible at home, but your recipe really hit the flavors I was looking for.