Wednesday, February 9, 2011
I wasn't really all that excited about the Superbowl this year. Unlike the majority of my extended family on my mom's side, I am not a Steeler's fan (my grandpa joked that he's still crying over their loss). My apathy about the game did not stop me from getting excited about the food, however. For some reason I really had a craving for taquitos, and I wanted to make them from scratch, for the first time, ever.
For the filling, I decided I wanted to do shredded beef, an obvious choice for us, seeing as we have so much on hand these days. A quick google search for a good taquito recipe introduced me to one of my new favorite food blogs: Life's Ambrosia. She had it all figured out: directions on how to make the taquitos and a recipe for cooking a beef roast in a slow cooker to get the shredded beef. Perfect! I compared her recipe to a few others and decided I liked her method the best.
Some recipes want you to roll the taquitos and then fry them in oil - tasty, for sure, but not the healthiest method. Others have you simply microwave the tortillas, roll, then bake. From what I read, however, microwaving did not make them pliable enough - so the tortillas tore as you tried to roll them.
It seems that this recipe had the best of both worlds: first, you lightly fry the tortillas in a small amount of oil (just like my grandma does when she makes shells for tacos!) making them perfectly pliable, then you roll them up with the meat, and bake for a bit in the oven. The taquitos were nice and crispy, and not too oily.
The meat filling was great. I cooked a 5-pound roast the day before the game in the slow cooker and shredded it with two forks. I realize this seems like a lot of meat, but since I was going to all this trouble, I wanted to make it worth my while and make a big batch of taquitos, plus this way we would have leftover meat. Once I assembled all the taquitos (I made about 30), I baked a small tray of them to eat that night, and froze the rest, unbaked, for future meals. We used the rest of the meat for sandwiches later on in the week.
Shredded Beef Taquitos
adapted from Life's Ambrosia
makes about 30 taquitos
Notes: These would be just as good filled with cooked chicken or pork.
Canola or vegetable oil (as needed, should have at least 1/2 cup on hand)
30, 6-inch corn tortillas (yellow or white)
4 cups cooked beef, shredded (recipe follows)
Cheddar cheese, shredded
If baking the taquitos right away, preheat the oven to 350 F.
Heat a couple tablespoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, carefully fry the tortillas, one at a time, about 30 seconds per side. Drain on paper bags, like my grandma does, or paper towels. You just want to fry them enough to get them really soft and pliable, not crisp.
Once you've fried about half of the tortillas, you can turn off the heat for now, and start filling and rolling them. I had to do batches because I ran out of room on the counter to drain my tortillas.
To fill the taquitos, place about 2 tablespoons of the meat onto the tortilla and roll tightly closed. Be careful not to overfill or it might not close very well. Lay them side-by-side, tightly together on a baking sheet so they stay rolled up while you assemble the rest.
Finish frying, filling, and rolling the rest of the tortillas.
If baking all or some of the taquitos right away, arrange them on a baking sheet with a little space between each one. If any threaten to unroll, secure with a toothpick. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. The ends will get browned and the meat sticking out of the ends will look a little crispy.
Optional: Remove baking sheet from the oven, and sprinkle taquitos with cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then remove from the oven and serve with guacamole.
To freeze: Arrange rolled, unbaked taquitos on a baking sheet with some space between them. Freeze for about an hour, then pile them into freezer bags and freeze. Bake, straight from frozen, at 350 F for about 20 minutes. Add shredded cheese and broil if desired.
Roast Beef in the Slow Cooker
adapted from Life's Ambrosia
makes all the shredded beef you could ever want, and then some
Notes: Since I used a larger roast than she did, I increased all the spice measurements. Other than that, I did not really change anything.
1 (5 lb.) beef roast, trim fat if desired
1 1/2 tablespoons salt (I used Kosher)
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups beef broth
2 cups water (or more as needed to cover)
1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
Mix together the salt, pepper, chili powder, granulated garlic, cumin, and oregano. Rub onto all surfaces of the roast.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the roast on all sides, 4-5 minutes per side. Put the roast into the slow cooker. Add the onions, garlic cloves, broth and water. The roast should be almost all the way covered, if not completely covered with liquid. Put the lid on and cook on high for about 8 hours.
Remove roast from slow cooker and shred with two forks.