Old pal Brandi Marsh Panzarino asked me to share some Mexican-themed recipes for an upcoming fiesta. I decided to update the classic enchilada with a smokey pulled pork filling - I used the Chicken Enchilada recipe from America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook as a guide and let the rest fall into place.
Knowing I was serving this to a 2 and 4 year old, I pulled back on the Chipotle and used Ancho chili powder to make the dish less spicy. Ancho chilies are smokey and sweet without all the heat of a traditional chili powder. The Ancho chili powder can be hard to find, so you can substitute chipotle or traditional chili powder if you crave the spicy fire.
There are a few steps to this recipe but they are all relatively simple and will be worth it in the end. Just ask my little oven-mitted helper.
The first step is to slow cook the pork. I use a crockpot to get just the right pulled pork consistency without a smoker, etc. It will take about 8 to 10 hours so make the pulled pork the day before if you can.
Ancho Pulled Pork
3 - 4 lb Boston Butt pork roast
1 sweet onion
1 tbsp taco seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Ancho or regular chili powder
1 tsp smoked paprika (add two canned chipotles instead for a little more spice)
1 tsp cumin
2 cups white wine (or a can of beer)
1 cup bbq sauce
1 cup v8 or tomato juice (remainder of can will be used for enchilada sauce)
2 packets Goya sazon
Thinly slice the onion and place on the bottom of your crockpot. Add all dry ingredients over onions.
Place pork into crockpot and then add wine and tomato juice. Pour bbq sauce over pork. Turn on High for 2 hours to jump start the cooking process.
Set on Low and cook for an additional 6 to 8 hours. Carefully rotate pork top side down with tongs 3 or 4 times during the cooking process. When done, the pork will be falling off the bone.
Remove roast from crockpot onto a cookie sheet or large plate. Careful now! That pork is hot and at the same time, is falling apart. Let it cool and then use a fork or even your hands to pull the pork into small shreds and pieces. Discard any fat and the bone - the pork should be as lean as possible. Depending on the fat content, in the end you might have more pork than you need for the recipe. If you have enough, you can make a double batch or freeze the remaining pork and save for quesadillas, etc.
Strain cooked onions from the crockpot and set aside for the enchilada sauce.
The next two sauce recipes are quickies.
Chipotle Enchilada Sauce
1 15 or 16 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
1/2 cup v8 or tomato juice
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Ancho chili powder (use traditional chili powder for more of a kick)
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup reserved onions from pulled pork (just onions, not liquid)
1 tbsp adobo sauce (from canned chipotles)
1 whole chipotle (add 2 or 3 if you like a little more spice)
Most enchilada sauces start with softening some onions in a saute pan. Since I already had some seriously flavorful onions, I figured I'd take a different approach. This no-cook enchilada sauce knocked my socks off and is the star of the dish. If smoked paprika is difficult to find, used an additional chipotle or adobo sauce to add more smokiness.
Throw all ingredients into blender and puree for 1 minute. Set aside sauce in bowl, rinse blender and reuse for the cilantro sour cream.
Cilantro Sour Cream
1 tbsp fresh cilantro
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp fresh lime juice
pinch of salt
cracked pepper to taste
Combine ingredients and blend for 30 seconds. Place into ziptop bag and refrigerate until needed.
Chipotle Pulled Pork Enchiladas
3 cups shredded pulled pork
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese mix
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3 cups enchilada sauce
1 cup black beans, drained
12 to 14 6" soft corn tortillas
1 whole tomato, chopped (for garnish)
Heat oven to 400 degrees and adjust rack to the middle position.
Combine pulled pork, 1 cup enchilada sauce, 2 cups of cheese and black beans in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stack tortillas on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until warm and pliable - maybe 60 seconds. Don't skip this step or your tortillas will tear. I know from experience. Boo!
Coat 9 x 13 inch baking dish with vegetable oil spray. Place 1/3 cup of pulled pork mixture down center of each tortilla and then gently roll tortilla tightly around filling. Place into baking dish 5 or 6 down each side - pack those suckers in there. If you don't have room for the last few enchiladas, stack a few in the middle.
Lightly spray tops of enchiladas with vegetable oil spray.
Pour remaining sauce over enchiladas to coat thoroughly. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheddar down the center of enchiladas.
Cover with foil and bake until enchiladas are heated all the way through - about 20 minutes.
Remove foil and continue to bake until cheddar browns up, about 10 minutes.
Plate one or two enchiladas at a time. Cut corner of ziptop bag and drizzle each enchilada with cilantro lime sour cream. Garnish with fresh tomato and a little cilantro. Enjoy!
Leftovers are portioned and go right into tupperware containers. Anything we arent going to eat in 48 hours goes into the freezer.