Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Homemade Taquitos and Lizano!

On my way to the store today, I asked my kiddo if there was anything she wanted me to pick up for her. This is generally a fruitless question, with an eloquent, pre-teenesque shoulder shrug as her standard response. However, today, she looked up from a trashy romance novel she'd scored out of my office and replied "taquitos, please." 

I got to thinking on this selection. I really hate buying much in a box anymore (I've almost got my fridge, freezer, and pantry pared down to staples, fresh foods, and things I've canned myself), and I really hate feeding it to my girl child. So I thought, "Why can't I just make these myself?" I'm all inspired right now by Alana Chernila's cookbook, The Homemade Pantry. She offers suggestions on how to replace many staples with homemade items, so that's where my train of thought is right now. So off I went. 

First, I bought a small round roast, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and seared it off. My usual SOP for this type of meat. I deglazed the pan with red wine, added some beef stock (really I added some Better than Bullion and water) and lots of Mexican-ish spices like cumin, smoked paprika, regular paprika, and chili powder. When the roast was about 2/3 submerged, I put it in a 350 degree oven for about an hour and a half and then lowered the temp to the 300 degrees and let it cook for about another hour and half until tender. When it was ready, I let it cool and then shredded the meat with two forks.

I ran my knife through this pile, drizzled it with its own juice from the pot, and added more smoked paprika and cumin. Then came the hard part. I used corn tortillas and tried rolling them. This does not work with cold tortillas. I now have a baggie of utterly destroyed corn tortillas in my freezer that I'll throw in something with enchilada sauce and over-medium eggs. I tried a couple of things, but my favorite result came from getting out a small skillet and warming each tortilla in about a tablespoon of the liquid from the beef. Then I added the meat and rolled them up. If that's a bit too labor intensive, wrap your stack of tortillas in a clean, wet kitchen towel or paper towels and microwave to steam and moisten them. I may try making my own tortillas next time. 

Anyway, once they were rolled, I brushed them with canola oil and sprinkled sea salt on them. I baked them at 325 degrees just until they were really warm and started to brown. I didn't want them to get too crunchy and dry. 

While they aren't as tidy looking as the store-bought variety, they were tasty and better for us. And, they were smokin' with some Lizano sauce I brought home from my trip to Costa Rica last September.

Zip lining in Monteverde, Costa Rica.