Black Bean and Corn Flautas

I never really know what to say about flautas to those unfamiliar with them. I mean, they’re basically just tacos that are filled, rolled, and fried, but that doesn’t sound very sexy, does it? And to me, they are very, very sexy.

I think it’s the frying that does my imagination in. Frying them helps them hold their shape and they suddenly become more finished and less casual than, say, tacos or burritos.

That you can stuff them quite full or quite minimally and present them on or under a variety of sides and condiments (like the great glop of guac in the pic) means that you can dress them up and down, as desired.

Flautas are typically stuffed with a protein, but you can fill them with anything you want in your mouth hot. This recipe is entirely vegetarian – vegan if you go with a veg cheese or omit it altogether (and I guarantee this recipe is flavourful enough to go without) – and one I wouldn’t hesitate to serve fancied up for dinner guests, perhaps rolled into finer tubes on a plate drizzled with mole poblano, mounds of pico, guac, and sour cream for dipping and a nice side salad, but for weeknight, at home purposes, stuffed full with a big glop of guac is divine.

I said on facebook that these are super-cheap, so I did the breakdown. Excluding the spices and the oils, and including the guac, the plate in the pic costs about $3 and it is a massive amount of food. I was full after one flauta and ate another half because my mouth wanted more, then I foisted the rest on the mister. A reasonable plate would be $2 with this recipe easily feeding six people. So, maybe not super-cheap, but Taco Bell would be hard pressed to beat it.
What you need (for six really stuffed flautas):

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow cooking onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 540ml can of black beans
  • 1/2 cup of cold water
  • 1 341ml can of corn
  • 2 tsp dried oregano or thyme
  • 3 chipotles*, chopped
  • 2 tbsp adobo
  • 1 cup grated Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
  • 6, 8″ corn or flour tortillas*
  • Vegetable (or other) oil for frying

What you do:

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet at medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, cumin, and coriander.
  3. Once the onion is translucent, add the beans, chipotles, adobo, and half of the water.
  4. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Using your stirring utensil, smash a good half of the beans into paste and stir.
  6. Add the corn, the oregano, and the remaining water.
  7. Simmer for five minutes, remove from heat and let stand for ten.
  8. Divide the cheese and black bean mixture among the tortillas and roll ’em up. When filling, place the cheese first, then top with the bean mixture, leaving about an inch between the top and bottom edges of the tortilla and the filling to avoid spillage while cooking. You’ll still get some spillage and that’s ok, but you want to prevent as much as possible.
  9. Heat a skillet over medium and add enough oil to coat generously (ok, maybe enough for it to sploosh around a bit).
  10. Gently place the filled and rolled tortillas in the pan, two or three at a time, opening side down. I use a 12″ skillet and find that only two are comfy at a time, but yours may be different.
  11. Cook three to four minutes, until each flauta is golden brown, then flip. I like tongs for this job.
  12. Cook the other side until golden brown.
  13. Serve!

*Townie tip: If you’re in Peterborough or come here ever, go to Goodies on George. I cannot say enough about this place, but I’ll start with the fact that they’re my friendly neighbourhood chipotle pusher and they have really, really nice corn tortillas.

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