I'm trying to support my local restaurants by ordering takeout at least twice a week. Last night, I was really craving Mexican food, but our local restaurant is all closed up and our closest food trick moved away a while ago so I had to make some myself. I had an accumulation of leftover meat in the fridge - some Roast Chicken and Roast Pork. So, I decided to make Taquitos as I always have Corn Tortillas in my freezer.
Taquitos are incredibly easy to make and I often forget to make them when I have leftovers in my fridge. I learned how to make them from a good friend who was from Mexico when I was pregnant, as I was craving Salsa all the time and needed more ways to eat it! My favorite filling is leftover Pot Roast and I will sometimes use leftover Refried Beans or Mashed Potatoes in the Taquitos as well. Leftover Turkey from Thanksgiving is also great.
All you have to do is soften the Corn Tortillas either by, steaming them or cooking them for a very short time in the microwave with a damp paper towel on top. I use the microwave method and cook only about 3 - 4 at a time so they will stay soft. And, I only cook them for about 30 seconds. Then you put in a scant (not quite) 1/4 cup filling across the bottom one third and roll up tightly. The Corn Tortillas should be soft and pliable and easy to roll. Then you secure the Taquito with a toothpick (threaded like you are sewing) and pan fry them in a shallow amount of Oil until they are browned and crisp. Just remember to take out the toothpick before you bite into them. Serve them with lots of homemade Salsa (previous post) or bottled Salsa and Guacamole if you have it, and you will have made something wonderful!
3 cups filling of your choice - shredded cooked Chicken, Pork or Beef, Refried Beans or Mashed Potato
12 Corn Tortillas
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil (Safflower, Sunflower, Grapeseed or Avocado are all good)
Place 4 Corn Tortillas on a plate and cover with a wet paper towel that has been wrung out. Cook on High for 30 seconds. Repeat with remaining Tortillas as needed for rolling.
Or, place all of the Tortillas on a heat proof plate in a steamer and steam for 5 minutes, turning over the stack and shuffling the Tortillas and then steam for an additional 5 minutes. Pull out 3 - 4 to roll at a time.
Place one Tortilla on a cutting board and put the Filling on the bottom one third of the Tortilla. Roll tightly around the filling away from you and then secure with a toothpick, threading the toothpick lengthwise to hold the Tortilla in place. Remove to a plate. Repeat with the remaining Tortillas and filling.
Heat 1/2 cup of the Oil in a 12 inch frying pan. When the Oil is shimmering, lower 6 Taquitos carefully into the Oil with tongs so that the Toothpick side is face down. Cook until the Tortilla is browned and crisp. Turn over and cook the other side until it is browned as well. Remove to a paper towel covered plate. Add in the remaining Oil and reheat. When the Oil is hot, put it the remaining Taquitos and cook turning once until they are all browned. Remove the Toothpicks and serve with lots of Salsa and Guacamole and if you want to make this dinner, add some Beans, Rice and Lettuce to the plate.
Five Element Analysis
Corn Tortillas belong to the Earth Element and frying is a Fire way of cooking. So those two Elements are covered. It depends on what kind of filling you use as that will determine the remaining Elements - Chicken is from the Wood Element, Beef and Potatoes are from the Earth Element, Pork is from the Water Element, as are Beans. Salsa made with Tomatoes and a Jalapeño Chili contributes the Fire Element, along with some Wood from the Lime Juice and some Metal from the Onion and Cilantro. Guacamole adds some Water and again more Wood from Lime Juice and Metal from the Onion. If you serve these Taquitos with Beans, Rice and some Lettuce, I think you pretty much have all of the Elements covered no matter what filling you use!