Potato Pinto Taquitos with Anaheim Peppers

What’s the difference between taquitos and flautas? I had no idea how vague the answer would be when I posed this question to Google. I assumed the difference had to do with the fillings, wrappings or circumference of the snacks but it turned out to be none of the above. There was some weak consensus that the difference lay in the type of tortillas used. The snack assumes the taquito moniker when it’s wrapped in a corn tortilla and the term flauta is reserved for those enshrined in a flour tortilla. But this does not appear to be a hard and fast rule. So don’t be surprised if you order taquitos and receive something swaddled in a flour tortilla. Apparently, the two terms are used pretty much interchangeably. 

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So, because I struggle with recipe names at the best of time, I’ve decided to go with the soft definition Google gave me. These are Potato Pinto Taquitos with Anaheim Peppers. They’re snuggled up in white corn tortillas, so it makes something close to sense. *Insert shrugging emoji here*

The muddy waters that surround flauta/taquito terminology are equal parts amusing and infuriating for me. I, like most people on this planet, like clear cut answers. Tidbits I can learn and apply without much controversy. So, this waffling over food terminology is a touch unsatisfying. But the part of me that embraces and celebrate the ambiguity of the human experience cannot help but raise an eyebrow and emit a light chuckle. Of course, there’s no proper definition. Flautas and taquitos are food and food is a very human thing. There is nothing cut and dry about any of us, so why should the things we create and pass on to each other be any different. Food is social, and social studies are anything but clearcut. 

This may seem like an odd opening to an article about a “like, totally amazing summer starter” but I thought I’d share it because I love it. I even love the part that frustrates me. The lack of a clearly defined difference between two dishes illustrates why it’s foolish to draw lines in the food world at all. Think about it, we travel with our recipes, we share (and impose) our recipes, and we, in turn, pick up recipes from others. Food is transient, not stagnant. So calling anything authentic or inauthentic is just plain wrong. To use those terms when it comes to food is to suggest that there was a baseline. And a time when food was frozen in it. But that simply cannot be possible. Especially when mole recipes vary from household to household even if those households exist on the same street.

The history (past and current) of food is complex, nuanced and devoid of clear definition. I say all this not to rile up your OCD but to give you something to fire back with when you’re confronted with an uptight, know-it-all foodie. They are everywhere and they will try to impose their “rules” on you but don’t let them. Because, just like the rest of us, they will never know everything there is to know about food and what they do know or think they know is subject to change. So, I say, stop worrying about whether it’s proper to put cheese on your seafood or if you can really make an authentic pierogi if you don’t ferment your own sauerkraut. Just enjoy your food, play, make mistakes and find your own individual cuisine. Okay, obnoxious lesson (rant?) over – let’s talk about these Potato Pinto Taquitos.

So, I cheated a bit with this recipe. I started with leftover potatoes. And when you do that, the cook-time on this dish is significantly shorter. I have written the recipe below as if you’re starting with raw potatoes. But pro tip – leftover potatoes will save you a buttload of time. So, next time you put a foil packet of potatoes on the ‘Q throw in more than you could ever conceivably eat in one sitting. In my case, that’s a lot of potatoes.

I do think it is worth your time to cook your potatoes on the BBQ. The smokiness they impart to the taquitos is not something you want to miss. But if you lack outdoor space and you’re not sure an illegal balcony hibachi is for you, you can roast your potatoes in the oven. Heck! You could even boil them if you want. Just get them taters done.

Okay, so the second major component of these Potato Pinto Taquitos is, of course, pinto beans. Now, refried beans are very straight forward. You simply cook the beans down in a little liquid and spices, mash ’em real good, then cook them for another 5 minutes. At this point, they should take on the texture of velvet. I added diced Anaheim peppers to my beans for kicks but you can give them a miss if you can’t find them. Poblano peppers will work just as well. And if even those allude you, there is nothing wrong with a can of green chilis.

From here, it’s a simple case of stuffing, rolling and frying. Word to the wise, don’t overfill your taquitos. I lost a few good tortillas to this pitfall. Don’t repeat my mistakes. Think of spreading your fillings on the tortilla, rather than piling them on. And the deep frying part? I’ve given y’all so many frying pep talks, you totally got this.

So, that’s everything you need to know about these Potato Pinto Taquitos with Anaheim Peppers. The perfect summer starter for any backyard or balcony fiesta.

Enjoy!

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Potato Pinto Taquitos with Anaheim Peppers

Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes cut into medallions
  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Anaheim peppers seeded and diced
  • 1 can pinto beans drained and rinsed
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup beer lager
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup Oaxaca or mozzarella cheese shredded
  • 4 cups canola oil
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream for serving
  • 1 avocado diced for serving
  • 8-10 grape tomatoes quartered for serving
  • 1 jalapeno thinly sliced

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400° F
  • Place the potatoes in a large bowl and add half of the olive oil and half a teaspoon of the salt. Toss to coat.
  • Transfer the potatoes to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes and bake for another 10 minutes or until tender.
  • Place the potatoes in a food processor and blitz them until they reach the consistency of a thick paste. Set aside to cool.
  • While the potatoes are cooling, heat the remaining olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and half a teaspoon of the remaining salt and reduce the heat to low. Sweat the onions until just translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Toss in the Anaheim peppers and saute until slightly softened. This should take about 3 minutes.
  • Add the beans to the pan, along with the spices, sugar and the remaining salt. Toss to coat. Pour in the beer and water and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let cook until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  • Once the liquid has reduced, take a potato masher to the beans and mash them. Simmer the mash until it turns velvet in consistency, about 5 minutes. Take the beans off of the heat and stir in the lime juice and fresh cilantro. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl place the potato puree, and refried beans. Stir to combine. Place a tortilla in the microwave for 10 seconds before spreading the bean mixture in an even, thin layer across the surface. Roll the tortilla tightly away from you and place it, seam-side-down on a large platter. Repeat with the remaining tortillas.
  • Once all the tortillas are filled, pour the canola oil in a large, heavy-bottom pot. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the oil up to 350°F. Add the taquitos, 3-4 at a time, and fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer the finished taquito to a tray lined with paper towel to drain. Repeat with the remaining taquitos.
  • Arrange the finished taquitos on a large platter and top with avocados, tomatoes, jalapenos, and additional fresh cilantro. Serve with a side of Greek yogurt or sour cream and, of course, a round of beers.

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