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Carne Asada Flautas

Carne Asada Flautas are rolled tacos that are made with beef and perfectly seasoned with the usual Tex-Mex spices. Corn tortillas give a great crunch when pan fried. Serve with your favorite salsas and sour cream.

Three rolled tacos.

Flautas, or little flutes, are tortillas filled with various fillings such as chicken, beef, pork, beans and cheese. You can just about put anything in these rolled tacos. They are then pan fried which really brings out the corn flavor from the tortillas as well as an addicting crunch.

Other names for Flautas?

  • taquitos (Southwest U.S.)
  • tacos dorados (Mexico)
  • flautas means little flutes (Mexico)
  • rolled tacos (U.S.)

Flautas may have originated in New Mexico or Los Angeles. There are a few mentions in some early cookbooks as well as a story of employees from Consolidated Aircraft Company in San Diego during World War II asking a Mexican restaurant owner for a portable lunch item (1).

Whether you love a good food story or just a crunchy finger food, flautas are the bees knees in my book. Their versatility comes from the variety of fillings and garnishes you can make these with. Have fun, experiment and learn the joy of cooking.

Optional Garnishes

Do you like these flautas? Then do try my Flautas de Pollo (chicken flautas).

How to Make Flautas Step-By-Step

Ingredients for flautas.
First prep your onion, beef and measure your spices.
Onions in a food processor.
10 pulses in a food processor should do the trick when dicing an onion. Be careful not to over process. It will be runny and too sulfurous.
Beef in a food processor.
Process beef after trimming the tough connective tissue. Process until it resembles chunky ground beef. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over medium high heat. Add onions, stir frequently. When onions start to char, add spices and beef. Stir frequently and cook until beef is cooked through and no longer pink.
Tortilla with carne asada on it.
Warm corn tortillas in the microwave wrapped in a kitchen towel. Place one at a time out and spoon some filling onto the side. Roll tightly and place seam side down on a plate or rimmed baking sheet. You may use toothpicks too secure.
A piece of corn tortilla frying in oil.
Heat oil over medium high heat. Test to see if it is hot enough by placing a piece of tortilla in the oil. If it sizzles immediately and forms bubbles, then it is ready.
Three rolled tacos.
Fry 4-6 at a time until golden brown. Turn over. Drain on paper towels.

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Three rolled tacos.

Carne Asada Flautas

Yield: 20-25
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Carne Asada Flautas are rolled tacos that are made with beef and perfectly seasoned with the usual Tex-Mex spices. Corn tortillas give a great crunch when pan fried. Serve with your favorite salsas and sour cream.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion (may use white), peeled and quartered, about 1 1/2 cups
  • 1 lb marbled beef (I used chuck steak), trimmed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp Chile powder, your choice (I used Hungarian paprika)
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 20-30 corn tortillas
  • cooking oil (corn, sunflower, canola, peanut etc)

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, place onion quarters and pulse 5-10 times, until diced. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of the processor, add the beef and pulse 5-10 times until it is roughly ground, set aside.
  3. In a large skillet (I like cast iron), heat over medium high heat. Add 3 tbs of the cooking oil. Add onions and stir frequently. Cook until soft and they begin to char.
  4. To the skillet add the spices and stir. Add beef, stir again. Keep cooking and stirring until beef is cooked through. Set aside to cool.
  5. In a kitchen towel, place the tortillas, wrap and place in microwave. Cook for 30 seconds.
  6. On a prep surface, take one tortilla out (keep the rest coverd), place a heaping tablespoon of beef and onion filling on one edge. Roll tightly and place with seam side down on a rimmed baking sheet or plate. Continue until the rest of the tortillas are filled.
  7. Wipe the skillet clean, add enough oil to make 1/4-1/2 inches of oil deep. Heat over medium-high heat. When you place a small piece of tortilla in the oil and it bubbles immediately, you are ready to fry the flautas.
  8. Carefully place five flautas at a time in the oil, seam side down. After one or two minutes, carefully flip over with tongs. Cook for another 2 minutes or so or until they are golden brown. Remove from pan, drain the oil for a few seconds before placing on paper towels to drain. Place another layer of paper towels and cook the rest of the flautas in the same manner.
  9. Serve with optional ingredients such as sour cream, salsa, guacamole or queso.

NOTE - Nutritional information is for three flautas without any garnishes.

Notes

PRO TIPS

  • Fresh corn tortillas from a Mexican market are the best. They won't split on you and the taste is amazing.
  • Cast iron pans hold heat better. When frying this means that as you add items to the skillet, the temperature of the oil won't drop as much. If the temperature of oil drops then anything you are frying will absorb more oil and be less crunchy.
  • You can preheat your cast iron in the oven before frying. Cast iron heats unevenly so preheating in the oven allows a more even heat across the skillet.
  • You can use toothpicks to hold the flautas together. This is a common practice. I don't do it but do whatevery makes you happy.
  • Flautas can be made with flour tortillas too.
  • Flautas can be made in the oven. Simply make as usual and spray with cooking spray. Bake at 400F until golden brown. This will have less calories but may be less crunchy, but just as good.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 7 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 56mgSodium: 422mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 7gSugar: 3gProtein: 24g

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RESOURCES

Wikipedia article on flautas.

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