These crispy rolled tacos fall right in line with how I’m cooking all through 2021- I'm keeping it simple, though simple isn’t the same as reckless. With only 4 ingredients, quality and a little know-how can make a big difference.
Use a fresh tortilla
These tortillas have some acrobatics to complete- they’ll be warmed, rolled, and baked. A fresh tortilla will still be soft and pliable when you warm and roll them instead of tearing or cracking. As the rolled taco bakes, a fresh tortilla will become golden and crunchy when an old tortilla would end up hard and chewy. The best way to know your tortillas are fresh is to buy local, which could be a local tortilla company or even your favorite restaurant.
Keep the filling simple
Use whatever protein you like, just make sure it’s shredded. The long strands won’t tumble out of the open ends like cubed or chopped filling will. This recipe says to use 3 tablespoons of meat and 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese per taco. Please don't think I'm fussy enough to measure each time. I add what looks right and start rolling. If it's too full, I stop and take a little out. No one's going to know unless you tell them.
Don’t be a soggy bottom
Saucy fillings and wet veggies will ooze out of the open ends and could soggy up your otherwise crispy tortillas. The simplicity of these rolled tacos makes them an excellent canvas for nearly any side or sauce you've got, from salsa and guac to ranch with spicy bbq sauce. Serve sauces on the side or drizzle over the finished tacos. If you’re topping your tacos with pickled jalapenos or beans, drain well before adding.
Now get to rolling. Happy eating, y'all!
Crispy Rolled Tacos
Serves 4-6 as an entree, 7-9 as an appetizer
20 6” tortillas
4 cups loosely packed shredded chicken*, beef, pork, or mushrooms
2 cups shredded cheese (I like havarti. Don't knock it until you try it.)
Sauces and dips for serving like salsa, crema, sour cream, guacamole, bbq sauce
Toppings: pickled jalapenos, pico de gallo, Taco Topping Salad (recipe below)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 425°.
Warm the tortillas: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add a little pat of butter (around a teaspoon or so). When the butter melts, add a tortilla. Swirl for a few seconds in the butter with tongs or your hand. Add a little more butter, flip, wait a few seconds, then remove. Repeat with remaining tortillas, stacking them as you go.
Fill: Place 2 tablespoons of cheese on the bottom third of a tortilla, sprinkling the cheese into a line that nearly touches the outside of the tortilla. Place 3 tablespoons of meat on top of the cheese, again spreading until it nearly touches the outside of the tortilla. Roll tightly. Place the rolled taco seam side down on the parchment paper, pressing down lightly. Continue with the remaining tortillas and filling, leaving 1” between the rolled tacos.
Bake: Bake at 415° for 12 minutes. Flip, then bake an additional 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before topping and serving.
Taco Topping Salad
In a large bowl, toss 3 cups shredded lettuce, 1 thin-sliced tomato, 1/4 cup thin-sliced red onion or radish, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Add the juice and zest of 1 small lime and toss again. Serve cold.
*Shredded Chicken Filling
6 bone-in chicken thighs
1 large onion, chopped
2 sticks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1 tablespoon pepper
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
Add all ingredients except water to a 2-3 quart pot. Cover with water by 1 ". Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to maintain a vigorous simmer (lots of small bubbles are constantly rising to the surface). Simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until juices run clear when pierced with a knife. Remove the chicken from the pot and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Shred with forks. Top with some of the broth from the pot. Refrigerate if not using immediately.