Yep, you heard me. Pork enchiladas.With leftover shredded pork.
I guess I should back us up to one day earlier last week – I was scrambling for finals, and of course, as you know, was on a slow-cooker-esque kick when it came to our food. One night before bed, I spiced a pork roast and plopped it, some onions and chicken broth into our crock pot the next morning before running out of the house. Of course, when I got home, the roast was perfectly moist and falling to shreds. But the Ryan and I cannot eat an entire pork roast by ourselves, so as you can imagine, there were tons of leftovers. So, what to do with them?
I already had guac in the house (yesterday’s post), and I had cheese, corn tortillas and sour cream from earlier in the week, so why not just keep with the theme and go enchiladas? I love enchiladas. Let me repeat that: I loooooooooooooooooooooooove enchiladas! But moving from Colorado back to the eastern seaboard has left me absolutely devastated when it comes to the ability to find legit, authentic Mexican food. I know, I know, the Ryan pokes at me because California Mexican food is “better,” but in comparison to here, both Colorado and California knock the pants off of anything we east coasters (at least in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area) can come up with. That being said, there is one saving grace around here, a little place called Pollo Fiesta, which my friends aptly scream “CHICKEN PARTY!” over every time we decide to go get some. They are a wonderful little hole in the wall place but the food is delish, and the Ryan and I can both agree that it’s a little taste of the west out east. There is also a decent place in downtown Annapolis called El Toro Bravo that I always forget about, but it’s a bit more of a drive. Not as good as Pollo Fiesta, in my opinion, but still steps above the rest of the places that call themselves “Mexican Restaurants” out here. Because honestly, other than those two, anything else you eat will taste like Campbell’s condensed tomato soup, bagged taco mix and store-bought stale shells. Yuck!!
The hardest part for me was finding a legitimate enchilada sauce that didn’t require some form of tomato soup, condensed XYZ, and a million other disgusting shortcuts that left me wondering, “How can you call this authentic?” I finally stumbled upon one that I chose to go with at Sometime Foodie’s blog. After reading this, and talking with a Mexican buddy of mine that lives in El Paso, Texas, I decided this would be the closest I could get to a good red sauce without too much spice, and without having to switch to verde (I’m sort of a spice wimp. I get wicked heartburn 😦 ). While searching for a video to teach myself what to look for when roasting chiles (seriously, never done it before today), I also found this video by the Frugal Chef and decided to work both recipes into my sauce. 🙂 It seemed like a lot of work, but for good, like-home Mexican food that both the Ryan and I could enjoy, the work and the search (I definitely ran between three grocery stores for the ingredients. I will have to find a Latino market around here) was worth it.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy!!
First, prep your pork. You can clearly see my leftovers in the storage container. I didn’t measure any of it, mostly I just pulled out everything that didn’t have remnants of gravy on it. I also chose to season with garlic powder (1 tbls), Mexican oregano (3 tsp) and pepper (1/4 tsp). I also cubed about 1/3 of a white onion and marinaded it all in corn oil (4 tbls).
First, dump all of your leftover pork into a bowl. The storage container obviously doesn’t have enough room for you to mix and stir. 🙂 Also, I needed to separate the leftover fatty/gravy covered pieces, so I used a separate bowl.
Beware the vultures that you will attract when you break out the smelly-good stuff. These guys always know that there’s something good going on in the kitchen when one of us is in there, but I swear Lestat smelled this stuff in 12 seconds flat. He showed up, then Sam joined, and they stared at me and meowed the entire time.
Cube up your onion (I used 1/3 or so) and toss it in there.
Then add your spices and oil.Why so much oil, you ask? Remember that your already-cooked and leftover pork is probably a lot drier after being in the fridge than it was when you first cooked it. Therefore it will absorb a lot of the oil’s moisture, so you will need a little extra to leave enough to distribute the rest of the spices. At least, that’s my theory.
Stir it all up. Smell that? Omg yummy!
Since I knew ahead of time that I was going to be making these today, I actually prepped the pork yesterday before the Ryan and I left for our Cinco de Mayo party. I figured that would give the meat a good, long time to absorb the new spices and get nice and deeeelicious. I stuck it in a ziplock bag and put it in the fridge.
Today, I started working on the sauce. The ingredients: Ancho chiles (dried, 5); Garlic (5 cloves, unpeeled), Onion (Half, chopped), Cumin (1/4 tsp), Tomato Puree (1 cup), Chicken Stock (2 cup). TIP: If you are like me and could only find a gigantic can of tomato puree, to store the leftovers, freeze them in a bag or storage container. Another way I’ve seen it done is a little bit of puree poured into individual ice cube trays so you can use what you need when you need it. We don’t have any spare ice cube trays though. 😦
Before you get started, if you don’t work with chiles often, I would suggest you wear gloves. After an unfortunate episode where I cut three habaneros and three jalapenos without gloves and ended up with chemical burns from the juices of the peppers tormenting my fingers for four days, I will NEVER work with peppers without gloves ever again. So painful!! Pull the stems out of your peppers and shake the seeds into a separate bowl. Tear the peppers in half to make sure the seeds are completely out.
Over medium heat, roast your chiles until they blister (as shown in bottom picture) and puff up on both sides. Don’t be surprised if the fumes from the chiles make you cough.
Once all of your peppers are blistered and puffed, drop them into a bowl and pour hot/boiling water over them. I soaked mine for an hour and a half. I also weighed the chiles down with a plate so they did not float to the top and were able to soak evenly.
Over medium heat, with the peel still on, roast the garlic, turning frequently.
After about 15 minutes, the garlic will be black and soft inside of the peel. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before peeling.
After about an hour and a half your peppers will look like this. Nice and puffy and big. You are now ready to prepare your sauce. 🙂
Saute about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chopped white onion in a pan until translucent.
Peel the garlic and add it, the chiles, the tomato puree, onions, chicken stock, cumin and a dash (about 1/4 tsp) black pepper to the blender. DO NOT dump out the water the chiles soaked in, as if you find the consistency of your enchilada sauce too thick, you can add that to the blender to thin it to the consistency you like. Not only can you do this in the blender, but you can do it in the pan when you’re cooking the sauce as well.
When you have blended everything, your sauce will look like this. 🙂 Pretty, no?
Pour your sauce into a strainer that is situated over a pot and, using a spatula, work the sauce through until it is all in the pot. The reason you do this is to keep the strings and seeds that may have made it into the sauce while blending from getting into the finished product of the sauce.
It will take you a while, I probably stood there about 15 minutes working everything through the strainer, but look at all of the yucky gunk that didn’t make it into my sauce.
And look at all the beautiful sauce that DID make it through the strainer. Mmmm, so pretty! Turn the heat on under your pot and simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes. At this point, taste it and add salt, pepper, Mexican oregano, more garlic, or cumin as you desire. I decided to add about 2 tsp of Mexican oregano and probably one more tbls of garlic powder. I also added about 1/2 tsp of salt. (Again, I have to keep it moderately tame or else heartburn. :()
While your sauce is simmering, remember that pork we prepared yesterday? Get it out and toss it in a skillet. Cook until heated through and the onions are translucent.
When your pork is heated and your sauce is ready, pour some of the sauce into a shallow dish and put the pork onto a plate by itself. Allow both mixtures to cool (you don’t wanna burn yourself while you assemble your enchiladas) for about 15 minutes. While your stuff cools, preheat your oven to 350. Mix about 1/2 cup of cheese (I had Mexican 4 cheese, you can use use whatever you want) into the pork mixture on the plate after it has cooled.
Very lightly line the bottom of your baking dish with some of the enchilada sauce.
Lightly dip your corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce, taking care not to overcoat them, as they will get soggy and break.
Lay the coated tortilla on a separate plate and add the pork mixture. Don’t add too much, it will tear your tortilla when you try to roll it.
Fold/roll the tortillas around the pork and put them in the sauce lined dish seam side down.
Coat the enchiladas with more sauce to cover.
Sprinkle cheese on top and pop those bad boys in the oven for 20-30 minutes. I cooked mine for 25.
They will come out looking like this. 🙂 I let mine stand for about 15 minutes to allow the mixture and sauce to solidify a bit for easier, less mushy serving.
*OMG FORK GLARE!! O_O!!!* Serve up with some Mexican rice, homemade guacamole and sour cream and voila! Your very own Mexican dinner without leaving your house!!