Friday, March 7, 2014

Beef Taquitos

Tortillas were on sale, and I got it into my head to use some stew beef in the freezer for taquitos.  What surprised me was that these are not fried, but baked.  Good; I fry too often just to put cool stuff on this blog.

This is a two-parter recipe, one for the filling and the rest is assembly.  You can make the meat the day before, or slow-cook it all day in a crock pot and assemble the taquitos during normal dinner-cooking time.

The biggest problem I had was the tortillas cracking when I rolled them.  This only happens with naturally low-gluten corn tortillas, not the flour kind I usually buy for pretty much every other Mexican-themed recipe I make.  I experimented with various degrees of moisture and warmth.  The best results were from completely drenching them before warming them up in the microwave.  Before that, even ones I rolled successfully cracked by the time they went into the oven.  I barely got enough whole ones for a good photo.

1 lb chuck roast or "stew meat"
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
*1/2 tsp chili powder
*1/2 tsp cumin
*1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 C diced onion
1 Tb olive oil, plus about 1/2 C for brushing
2 C water or beef broth
*1 Tb tomato paste
14 to 16 small white-corn tortillas
shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for garnish or dipping

1.  Early in the day or a day before, get out a medium saucepan.  Sauté onion in 1 Tb oil until soft, then add meat and brown lightly.  Add spices and water.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and cook until meat is pull-apart soft, at least 2 hours.  Drain.  When cool enough, shred into a bowl.  Stir in tomato paste.  Taste and add salt or pepper as necessary.

2.  Wet tortillas under running water.  Warm tortillas in microwave four at a time at 15 to 20 seconds, until they're pliable, moist, and don't crack when you roll them.  Preheat oven to 375º and line a baking sheet with foil.

3.  Brush a small amount of oil onto both sides of tortillas.  Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of each tortilla and roll up like a cigar.  Place on baking sheet seam-side down, securing with a toothpick if necessary.

4.  Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges begin to brown.  If desired, sprinkle with shredded cheese and return to oven briefly to melt.  Serve hot with dipping garnishes.

Makes about 14.  Servings depends on if it's an appetizer or main dish.

Difficulty rating  :)

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