Flautas With Salsa Mexicana

I really fancied something Latin inspired this evening. There’s something very satisfying about Latin food, and Mexican food in particular. It’s a perfect mix of insanely fattening and happily healthy – which is good for me at the minute as I need to address my eating habits. I’m not prepared to eat boring rabbit food yet I concede I can’t have everything lathered in butter and oil either. This way I get a little of both. I used to order this every time at the legendary TexMex restaurant in Edinburgh back in the day. Sadly the restaurant closed years ago but and have often randomly remembered it with fondness. The last time I ate there in particular was memorable. My mother was in town and we ordered the Flautas as a starter. For whatever reason the food took an hour to arrive, by which point the both of us were utterly off our faces on Margaritas and tequila shots. The last thing I remember is the pair of us staggering home at a 45% angle, clinging onto each other for a modicum of support. Anyway the dish is crunchy, meaty and deliciously flavoursome with every mouthful. The spicy tomato salsa is best served on the side ready to dunk a flautas into. Good times.

Salsa Mexicana:
1/4 cup olive oil
1 jalapeno chilli (finely chopped)
5 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
300g tomatoes (peeled, seeded and finely chopped)
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt

300g pork steak (cut into very thin strips)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup spring onion (finely chopped)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
1 teaspoon pasilla chilli powder or 1/2 teaspoon regular chilli powder.
1 tablespoon salsa mexicana
pinch of dried oregano
pinch of dried thyme
salt & pepper
4-6 corn tortillas
1/4 cup corn oil

To make the salsa:
Heat the oil in a heavy based pan over a moderate heat. Gently fry the onion for 4 minutes until soft. Add the chilli and fry for a further 4 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, salt & pepper and bring to a simmer. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes until thick. Remove from the heat to cool completely.

To make the flautas: heat a large pan with the oil and when hot add the spring onion and garlic and fry over a moderate heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the pork and stir fry for 1 minute. Add the salt, chilli powder, pepper, thyme, oregano and salsa mexicana. Bring to a simmer then cook for 5 minutes until thickened, almost dry. Remove from the heat.

Place 6-8 tortillas in the microwave for about 1 minute until soft. Quickly remove them and cover. Take one and then spoon about 1 heaped tablespoon of meat into the bottom half of the tortilla. Bring the bottom up and roll up the tortilla into a cigar. Secure with 2 toothpicks and repeat the process with the remaining tortillas.

Heat the corn oil in a small pan over a moderate heat until hot. Place 2 flautas into the oil and cook for about 3 minutes on one side then turn and cook for another 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels then keep warm in a lightly warmed oven. Repeat with the remaining flautas.

I served the salsa on the side, alongside Mexico’s ever present sour cream and home made guacamole.

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