Monday, January 23, 2012

Inside Out Chicken Taquitos

I'll be honest, I can't remember the last time I ordered taquitos anywhere. The little rolled, filled and fried tortillas that tantalize the tongues of millions just don't do it for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge connoisseur of Mexican cuisine, but to me taquitos have always been lost in the shadows of many other much more desirable dishes. You just can't pack enough protein into a tiny corn tortilla to satisfy my masculine desire for meat. My sister, however, drives the taquito bandwagon, so I thought I would put a twist on the dish in her honor. To ensure that my taquitos were served with enough meat, I just decided to use chicken instead of a tortilla. Yes, I said chicken. Beat a chicken breast enough with a frying pan and it will become flat enough to mimic a tortilla's wrapping ability...kind of. Another major difference...the taquitos aren't fried, they're baked. Oh yeah, and you're gonna need a fork!

Inside Out Chicken Taquitos

Inside Out Chicken Taquitos with Chipotle-Lime Rice and Fire-Roasted Corn Guacamole
Servings: 4
Total Time: ~ 1 hour (plus an additional 30 minutes for marination)

4 chicken breast halves
1 c. beer
2 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbls. cilantro, chopped
1 can refried pinto beans
1 c. shredded jack and cheddar cheese (plus more for garnish if desired)
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Pound out each chicken breast half to 1/4 in. thickness and place in a marinade bag.

2. For the marinade, combine beer, green onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper. Pour contents into marinade bag over the chicken. Allow to marinate in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

4. After the chicken has marinated, heat up the beans. This is not completely necessary, but will make them easier to spread.

5. For each breast, lay the chicken out flat. Spread some beans and cheese onto the breast (leaving about 1/2 in. between filling and edge of chicken) and roll as if rolling a tortilla around filling for a taquito. Place the chicken onto a shallow baking pan lined with foil and cooking spray (to facilitate cleaning and serving duties respectively). 

6. Season the top of the taquitos with salt and pepper bake for 30 minutes.

7. Remove taquitos and garnish with more cheese. Return to oven and bake until cheese is melted and bubbly. 

1. If you're pressed for time, the marinade can be skipped. However, I found that it really added a nice depth of flavor and helped keep the chicken moist during the cooking process. 

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