You may or may not know this about me….but I was born and raised in the far north. It’s true…..I’m a deep woods northern girl from Minnesota, which, by the way, is the northern-most state in the US, second only to Alaska (Alaska!!). I am quite literally (and figuratively)….a northern bred girl, haha! But now that I’ve been in Texas for over 20 years, I feel completely comfortable confessing…..I am not one bit homesick for my northern roots. Not that I don’t love all my family who still live there, but at this point, I can safely say that I’ve been completely assimilated into the Texan way! Yes, yes….Texans are like the Borg (If you need help with that one click HERE). They assimilate you into their hive mind or they eliminate you! “Resistance is futile!”
Alright….so now that I have both dated myself badly and revealed the deep level of nerddom that I usually keep well-concealed, I shall continue with the purpose of today’s blog post….
…which is these amazing King Ranch Chicken Flautas!
Confession time: When I first came to Texas, I wasn’t really a fan of “Texas food” per se. Perhaps it’s because it hadn’t been represented very well where I came from, or maybe it just took a while for me to be fully assimilated….I don’t know. But the one true, abiding understanding that I have come to know in these 20+ some odd years is….home is where the Tex-Mex is!
And so, these King Ranch Chicken Flautas were born. If you are not familiar with the southern favorite….King Ranch Casserole you are truly missing out! Tasty, seasoned shredded chicken smothered in a lovely creamy sauce, with pico, tomatoes, cilantro, chiles, cheese and well……you get the idea…pretty much all things Tex-Mex, layered up and baked into savory, ever-loving perfection! There’s even a deli near us that carries a King Ranch Chicken sandwich, which at one point in Ben’s storied past, was accepted on numerous occasions as an alternative form of payment in lieu of cash. (Side note: if you’re eating enough food at the restaurant where you work that they don’t have to pay you an actual check anymore, you’re doing it wrong. But I digress…..)
So when I decided to make a cassava flour flatua recipe, I knew the first one had to be a dairy and grain free, King Ranch Chicken variation. Below is the fruit of that pursuit, and let me just say….these things are so irresistible that I’ve had to make a new batch of flautas 4 TIMES because they keep getting eaten before I could photograph them! So on that note, I hope you enjoy these babies….they are like a little taste of Texas, from my kitchen to yours.
Grain Free King Ranch Chicken Flautas
Makes about 18
2 batches of my 6-inch cassava tortillas, HERE (see subs below)*
About 10 ounces of any cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 – 8-ounce container of Kite HiIl Dairy Free Cream Cheese, get HERE (see subs below)**
2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup, finely diced cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup diced, roasted hatch chilies, less to taste, if using fresh
1/8 cup finely chopped chives or green onions
1/2 teaspoon (or more) of Primal Palate taco seasoning, get HERE
salt and pepper to taste
Creamy Ranch Dressing (recipe below)
Pico de gallo, cilantro adn optional Kite Hille Ricotta for garnish
Any high heating oil for frying.: organic palm shortening, duck fat, lard…
*I love to use fresh homemade tortillas for this as they are MUCH more flexible. This makes them easy to roll, and they hold together at the seam very well. However, if you want to, you can use a pre-made tortilla like THESE Seite cassava ones. They are much bigger than the 6-inch ones I make for flautas so you will have to adjust the filling amount and you will end up with fewer flautas. Note: Pre-made tortillas are more breakable when rolling, it’s just something you can’t really get away from. Although, the new Seite chia ones bend the best, for pre-made.
**You can also sub regular cream cheese here or any other dairy free cream cheese.
1. In a large bowl, combine the shredded chicken, DF cream cheese, coconut milk, tomatoes, chilies and chives. Mix it all together until well combined. I actually use my KitcheAid with paddle attachment for this and it works great.
2. Now season the mixture with salt and pepper to preferred taste
3. To make the flautas, you need about 2 tablespoons of filling per 6-inch tortilla. I like to use a 2 tablespoon mechanical scoop like THIS one. Scoop the filling toward the end of one side of a tortilla. Lengthen the filling out into a skinny long line, and then roll it up tight like a cigarette. If it’s skinny enough to roll a few times, it is less likely to break open while frying.
4. Place the flauta, seam side down onto a dish or cookie sheet, and repeat until all of them are filled and rolled. At this point, you can cook them right away or cover and store in the fridge (no longer than a day) until you are ready to fry them. Note: If you’re using pre-made tortillas, you may need a toothpick to secure them closed until frying. Also, I cook the pre-made tortilla ones right away as they tend to break and crack otherwise. Although they may crack and break either way.
5. In a large cast iron skillet, heat about 1 1/2 inches of fat over medium heat until it reaches 350ºF. Using a metal tongs, carefully place some of the flautas, seam side down into the hot oil. How many you fit depends on the size of the pan. They can be pretty close together but shouldn’t be touching. Leave a little room for flipping them and moving them around. Fry for a few minutes on each side. The frying times will vary depending on how hot your fat gets. If it gets too hot, the flautas won’t have even browning and likely will burn in spots. When finished, use the tongs to transfer them to metal cooling rack to drain, cool and crisp up.
6. Serve on a platter and drizzle with plenty of creamy dressing (below). Then top with the pico, cilantro and Kite Hill ricotta to garnish and maybe finish off with a little more ranch dressing drizzle and Enjoy!
Creamy Ranch Dressing
1/2 cup favorite Mayo
1 tablespoon full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon garlic granules
salt and pepper to taste
Method: Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl, until well combined. Add more coconut milk for a runnier dressing, or more mayo if it gets too runny! Not rocket science…just simple deliciousness!