Eight ingredients, plus pantry staples. That's all it takes to make an entire meal from scratch. Add in a good bottle of wine for less than $20, and you've got a feast for family or friends.
My husband recently headed out of town on business, so I invited some girlfriends over for a night of snacking and sipping. These pork flautas were the perfect thing to enjoy on a casual, fun evening.
Easy to make, flautas—corn or flour tortillas stuffed with a filling, rolled up and fried—deliver a lot of flavor with minimal ingredients. Cumin and green onion add punches of spice and brightness. I really enjoy the flavor of cilantro, so I added a little, but you can swap it out for parsley or omit fresh herbs completely. Creamy guacamole and a sprinkle of grated Cotija cheese add a final flourish. If you can’t find Cotija in your grocery store, any mild, lightly salty cheese should work well.
Flautas means “flutes” in Spanish, and this festive-sounding food would certainly make an easy appetizer for a party as well. Serve them piled up on a platter with the guacamole on the side; you could cut them in half to increase the number of individual pieces. Alternatively, substitute 6-inch corn tortillas—a great option if you’re sensitive to gluten—and you have taquitos, a smaller version of the dish suited to party apps. That said, I generally find flour tortillas easier to roll quickly, and the larger ones are perfect for an entrée portion.
If you are serving these for a party, you can make the filling ahead of time and even assemble the rolled tortillas. Fry them just before the party and keep them warm in an oven set to 200° F.
My friends and I sampled two wines along with these flautas: a Rioja rosado and a Roditis-Moschofilero blend from Greece, a fresh white that we chose as an alternative to a Sauvignon Blanc, which I expect would also work really well. I was torn between the two, and my friends vocalized my contrasting opinions perfectly. One liked the way the pretty floral notes in the Roditis blend complemented the green herbs in the food. The other preferred the way the zingy acidity of the rosé’s citrus and cherry notes cut through the fattiness of the pork. Tipping the balance to the rosado, I have to note that its slightly fuller body was a good match for the weight of the food.
Prep time: 10 to 15 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Total time: 60 to 65 minutes
Approximate food costs: $28
1. Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large pan. Add the peppers to the pan, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic and three-quarters of the sliced green onions (reserving the last bit for garnish) and cook for another 2 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to another bowl.
2. Add a little more oil to the pan if needed. Once hot, add the pork to the pan and season with the cumin, salt and pepper. Cook until the pork is lightly browned, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add in the cooked vegetables and, if using, the chopped cilantro. Stir to combine well; taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Remove the pan from the heat.
3. To assemble the flautas, spoon a couple of large tablespoons of pork mixture onto half of each tortilla and roll up as tightly as possible. Secure each tortilla with a toothpick.
4. Heat a generous amount of oil, about 1/3- to 1/2-inch deep, in a large pan. (If using the same pan, scrape or wipe to remove any browned bits first.) Once the oil is hot and shimmering, add the flautas in batches and fry them until golden-brown and crispy, rotating to make sure they brown on all sides. Transfer the flautas to a separate platter as they come out of the pan, remove the toothpicks and keep warm.
5. Place a dollop of guacamole on each plate and top with 2 flautas. Garnish with the cheese, remaining green onions and additional cilantro, if using. Serves 6 as an entrée, 12 as an appetizer.