There’s a reason why I turn to Mexican food so often. Mexican cuisine has a rich and long history of embracing other cultural cuisines while maintaining its own identity. Some cultures have a tendency to cling to strict tradition, when it comes to their cuisine, while other cultures are more willing to change and adapt.
When it comes to cooking at home, versatility and adaptability is the name of the game! So, when it’s time to plan a meal, I want to use items that I am familiar with but I want to combine them in new and interesting ways.
I can stuff anything I want into a tortilla and call it a taco. I can wrap anything I want in a tortilla and cover it with sauce and it becomes an enchilada. My imagination is only restricted by considering the taste, texture and nutritional quality of the final outcome. Once I consider those aspects, the rest of the process is a simple matter of deciding what cooking methods I want to use to achieve my goal.
I pulled some fresh chilis from the garden and I cooked down some fresh tomatoes to make a sauce. I had leftover smoked pork roast in the refrigerator and Monterrey Jack cheese and corn tortillas. The rest of the ingredients were spices that I always keep on hand.
And that is why I’m making Smoked Pork Enchiladas!
1 red jalapeño, seeded and sliced
3 small poblano chilies, seeded and chopped
1 Tbs cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
½ cup diced onion
1 ½ cups tomato sauce
2 Tbs red chili powder
1 ½ Tbs cumin powder
1 Tbs Mexican oregano, crushed
2 tsp garlic powder
1 lb. smoked pork roast, sliced and chopped
12 oz Monterrey Jack cheese
10 corn tortillas, softened by dredging in hot oil.
Prepare the chilies. Remove the stems and seeds. Slice the jalapeño into thin rings.
Remove the stems and seeds from the poblano chiles. Slice and dice the chilies.
Add 1 tablespoon of cooking oil to a large, oven-proof skillet. Set the heat to low/medium heat. After the oil is hot, add the chopped poblanos and garlic. Simmer and stir for five minutes, or until the chiles and garlic sweat and soften. Add the onions and saute for another 5 minutes.
Remove the chiles and garlic and place on a cutting board. Chop the chiles and garlic into smaller pieces.
Add the tomato sauce to the pan and cook at medium heat. Add the cooked garlic, chilies and onion. Add the red chili powder, cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Simmer and stir for ten minutes. Remove the sauce and place in a bowl.
Slice and chop the smoked pork and place in a mixing bowl. Shred 12 ounces of Monterrey Jack Cheese. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped pork and 8 ounces of the shredded cheese. Reserve the other 4 ounces of cheese for the topping.
Spread the tomato sauce mixture across the bottom of an oven-proof pan. A thin layer is all you will need.
Prepare the enchiladas by placing a few tablespoons of pork and cheese mixture in a tortilla. Wrap the enchilada and place into the pan. Repeat, until all of the enchiladas fill the pan.
Cover the enchiladas with the remaining sauce.
Bake in a 350° oven for 30 minutes. Top the enchiladas with the remaining 4 ounces of cheese and sliced jalapeño. Return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the enchiladas to rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with crisp lettuce, a splotch of sour cream and a whole, pickled jalapeño.
¡Más sabroso para Tex-Mex! (give it a tasty Tex-Mex finish)