On the plus side these are very easy to make, and if you want to get creative you can do all sorts of things - Add some fresh herbs or a splash of sherry maybe. I suppose you could even substitute diced zuchini for the chicken and make them vegetarian. However, they are rather fattening. They'd make an excellent cornerstone for some sort of fat gaining diet.
Okay, a few notes about ingredients. I use chicken breast, just because it's easiest to perpare, but you could use cheaper cuts. It might even have more flavor with thighs or legs. I just hate cutting the damn meat off of those. Also, I try to get thin corn tortillas. I think they roll better and make for a better crunch. And you'll notice in the picture that I'm using a "basil & tomato" feta cheese. Don't worry about it if you can't find that, but I do think the sun dried tomato adds a nice flavor.
This recipe will make about 8-10 flautas.
- Dice the raw chicken into small cubes. You don't want it too big or it will be hard to roll up the flautas. Heat the olive oil to medium high and then saute the chicken. Try not to over cook it. In fact since it will be cooking a second time in just a bit you might want to slightly undercook it. Here's the deal - You want the flautas to be crunchy and juicy, not crunchy and dry. So just don't cook the chicken into a gravel-like state. I think we're clear on that.
- Pour the chicken and any oil/juices into a medium mixing bowl. Add the cheese, corn, onion and cumin. Press in the garlic cloves. Add salt and pepper to your preferred taste. You can also add anything else you think would be good at this point, maybe some ground chilies or fresh oregano, but I think it's fine just like this. Fold that all together with a fork until it's very well mixed. Don't use a food processor. You want small chunks of flavor, and a mixer will give you paste. Not the same thing.
- Now get set up to roll the flautas and fry them. Pour the peanut oil about 1/3-1/4 inch deep in a smallish fry pan and heat it on a medium high burner. Steam the tortillas. Do not even think about not steaming them. Unless you enjoy aggravating messes, and then by all means don't steam them. If you don't have one of those nifty tortillas steamers (and I can't imagine why you would) just place the tortillas in a slightly moist (not wet!!!) dish towel and microwave them for 45 seconds. Test the oil to make sure it will fry a piece of tortilla before you proceed.
- For each flautas lay out one of the warm tortillas and place 2-3 tablespoons of the chicken mixture near the top edge. Use your fingers to mold it into a firm cylinder. Roll the tortilla up, trying to make it firm and tight without tearing anything. Use a finger to tamp the mixture in from each side. Do not even think about not tamping. If you don't, the mixture will spill out when you fry it and you'll get some very boring flautas.
- As soon as each tortilla is rolled and tamped, carefully place it seam down in the heated oil. I find tongs make this much easier. I cook them three at a time, but you can work at whatever pace you like. Let them fry on one side for 1-2 minutes, and then turn them and fry for another minute or so. The cooking time isn't too critical. Frying them longer will make them crunchier, less frying will make them chewier. I prefer the crunchy version.
- As each flautas is done pull it out of the oil and tilt it to each side slightly to drain the extra oil out. Place them on paper towels to cool. Sprinkle with salt. And they're done. You can serve them with guacamole or salsa verde, but like to eat them plain.