I wasn't entirely sure if taquitos were authentically Mexican, but it turns out that they are mainly sold there as tacos dorados (and actually if they are made with flour tortillas, they are flautas). This version requires some fry time but they are relatively easy to throw together for an impromptu get-together. Click here to see 8 Quick & Easy Taco Recipes.
It was more than a decade ago that I fell in love with the flautas at Chico's Tacos in El Paso, Texas. That visit started a craving that was finally, finally sated, in New York City no less. Chico's Tacos were brought back from Texas, special delivery, packaged in Tupperware that was more expensive than the actual tacos, frozen until I could get to them, and finally reconstituted (Thanks, Mom).
Eating Chico's Tacos once again did two things. First, it made the need to be able to eat them more consistently a necessity. Second, tasting the original rendition reestablished the flavor profile required to be able to do that. Crispy fried taquitos, covered in thinly shredded cheese, and drenched in red watery sauce — dripping, crunchy, melted cheese-drink-the-sauce flautas goodness.
Creating a recipe for a renowned dish is tricky. You can theorize, you can do trial and error, or you can do what was done here: Look to see what's out there already. There's no official site for Chico's Tacos and, as far as anyone can seem to tell, no officlal recipe out there for how to best make these signature tacos.
The two most prominent recipes out there are by The Stanton Magazine and Mexican American Border Cooking. They provide some really insightful guidance on different possible approaches to a successful dish. This recipe uses a home fryer and fresh ingredients for all components for a rendition that looks and tastes pretty close to the original. Oh, and don't forget the toothpicks. You need them to keep the taquitos closed when frying them. (If anyone knows a better way, please chime in.)