Porkchiladas? Chickenchiladas? I’m betting those are the strangest terms for an enchilada you may have ever heard. But, yes, they are 100% enchilada, though stacked/layered instead of rolled.
In this case, the pork is carnitas, braised, juicy chunks of pork shoulder torn into irregular pieces, then crisped in the oven prior to serving. Sounds delicious, right? Well, let’s make it even more delicious and bathe it in Rick Bayless’ beautiful, rich, but uber involved, classic red mole sauce. Then we’ll stack it between homemade flour tortillas along with some queso fresco, cheddar and asadero cheeses melted into an amalgam of silky, stringy goo, and then top it with a poached egg drizzled with green chile sauce and more mole. Tell me that doesn’t sound pretty amazing? Well, it was!
Yes, we’ve gone south of the border this month to beautiful and delicious Mexico with Chicken and Pork enchiladas! Cue blog checking lines…
Our hosts this month, Barbara of Barbara Bakes and Bunnee of Anna+Food have chosen a delicious Layered and Stacked Green Chile & Grilled Chicken Enchilada recipe in celebration of Cinco de Mayo! The recipe, featuring a homemade enchilada sauce, was found on www.finecooking.com and written by Robb Walsh.
Naturally, I didn’t follow this enchilada challenge word for word. Yes, as you read in the first paragraph, I stacked them. Yes, I made the green chile sauce provided to us by Barbara and Bunnee. However, as always, I have to complicate things, but it’s always in a good way, and this enchilada was no exception to the rule. I made Rick Bayless’ Classic Red Mole Sauce. Granted, we were given the option to use any red and/or green chile sauce we preferred, but when traveling to Mexico through the eyes and minds of the Daring Cooks, who better to go to than Rick Bayless? I did make one minor change to his perfect recipe, and that was to add one roasted plum tomato along with the tomatillos. Hey, they’re relatives..right? Right?
Some of the many ingredients in the classic red mole : Upper Left – Toasted sesame seeds, roasted tomatillos plus one tomato, almonds, golden raisins and garlic in the middle. Upper Right: Dried chiles. Lower Left – Chocolate from Mexico. Lower Right – Dark toast and spices.
First off, I’ve never made mole sauce before, and now I know why. This sauce contains a myriad of ingredients and loads of steps. I made the full recipe, which included a good amount of dried ancho, mulato and pasilla chiles, torn into flat pieces and fried prior to soaking. Well, I don’t know what kind of dried chile peppers Rick gets, but tearing them into ‘flat’ pieces for frying is just not possible. Yes, you will get some flat pieces, but for the most part, since these peppers are shriveled to the maximum shrivel unit, most will curl when torn. This was a problem when frying them, albeit a small problem, but kind of a pain in the tush.
On the bright side, while tearing these peppers into pieces for what seemed like hours, it smelled like really good popcorn. Have you ever smelled your pup’s paws or hot buttered white rice? That kind of ‘good’ popcorn smell. However, when sniffed close to the nose, they smelled like spicy raisins, which is also pretty nice. That said, a warning: just because a hot pepper has been dried doesn’t mean the seeds are any less hot. Yep, I accidentally rubbed my eyes after tearing them (staring back at you all with bulbous, red burning, tearing eyes).
Ready for basic asssembly. Upper Left – Carnitas. Upper Right – Flour tortillas. Lower left – Top to Bottom: Queso fresco, cheddar and asadero. Lower right – Red Mole and Green Chile sauces.
Does it sound like I’m complaining about this sauce? Yeah, I know it does..but I would make it again, and again and again. I would toast, fry, soak, mix, blend, strain, and cook it down for eternity because it’s so.worth.it. But here’s a tip: if you make this sauce, make sure you have a MEDIUM mesh strainer.
I used a fine mesh strainer to push the chile mixture, the tomatillo mixture, and the final sauce through (although the recipe didn’t call for pushing the final sauce through..I wanted it super silky) and boy did I pay. It took at least an hour of my life and left me with a very sore wrist. The word STRAIN definitely covered both a noun and verb in this case, BUT, my mole was smoother than a baby’s bottom and like silk on the tongue. Unfortunately, you can’t really see the silkiness because I took a photo of it straight out of the fridge. Why? Because I rushed this entry since it was late, (which is pretty much the norm ’round here).
Sometimes I just don’t think.
A few days later, I used the mole sauce to make the recipe almost as written; stacked/layered in a roasting pan, using chicken; sort of like a chicken mole lasagna using flour tortillas. The photo stinks, but it was extraordinarily delicious, and the pan was empty in minutes.
I suppose you could call my take on this month’s challenge Enchilada Benedict. You’ve got the pig, you’ve got the poached egg, and even though I didn’t, you could always mix some of the green chile sauce (which was also fabulous) into some Hollandaise sauce. When it comes to the bread part, anything really goes..English muffins being the classic route, but why not cheesy flour tortillas filled with carnitas in mole? Instead of one big pan of cheesy, meaty, saucy stacked stuff, I made individual stacks, using a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles from the flour tortillas; a great podium for the creamy, little poached eggs.
Can I still call this an enchilada? Hmm, I may have taken a road way, way off the beaten enchilada path.
Anyway, I loved this stacked and layered enchilada challenge, as did everyone who gorged on both the stacked/layered pork enchilada aka porkchiladas, and the chicken enchilada bake (Chickenchilada Bake)! Thank you for a delicious and fun enchilada challenge, Barbara and Bunnee! For the master recipes, click HERE. To see some other takes on this challenge, click on the links at the Daring Cooks Blogroll, HERE.
FINALLY, I didn’t forget, although I am a day late (a day late with this challenge too – sometimes life just gets in the way). the winner of The Sweet Melissa Baking Book! Random Integer chose number….
This corresponds to Becca of My Kitchen Quest. Congrats, Becca! I’ll send you an email ASAP and get the book right out to you as soon as I get your info!
Recipe from the Authentic Mexican by Rick Bayless
Makes 12 tortillas
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
5 tablespoons lard or vegetable shortening, or a mixture of both
3/4 teaspoon salt
about 3/4 cup very warm water
1. Make the dough. Combine the flour and fat in a large mixing bowl, working in the fat with your fingers (like you would a pie dough), until completely incorporated. Dissolve the salt in the water, pour about 2/3 cup of it over the dry ingredients and immediately work it in with a fork; the dough will be in large clumps rather than a homogeneous mass. If all the dry ingredients haven’t been dampened, add the rest of the liquid (plus a little more, if necessary). Place the dough onto your work surface and knead until smooth. It should be medium-stiff consistency — definitely not firm, but not as soft as most bread dough either.
2.Rest the dough. Divide the dough into 12 portions and roll each into a ball. Set them on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let rest at least 30 minutes (to make the dough less springy, easier to roll).
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough into an even 7-inch circle.
4. Heat an ungreased griddle or heavy skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
5. Lay the tortilla on the hot griddle (you should see an almost immediate bubbling across the surface). After 30 to 45 seconds, when there are browned splotches underneath, flip it over. Cook the other side 30 – 45 seconds until it also has brown splotches; don’t over cook the tortilla or it will become crisp.
6. Remove and wrap in a cloth napkin placed in a tortilla warmer or warm oven. Roll and cook the remaining tortillas in the same manner and stacking them one on top of the other.
Red Mole Sauce and/or Green Chile Sauce – OR Mexican sauce(s) of your choice
2 boneless chicken breasts (you can also use bone-in chicken breasts or thighs)
3 tablespoons olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil (use more as needed)
Kosher salt and pepper
12 flour tortillas from recipe above
6 ounces Monterey or Pepper Jack Cheese, grated
6 ounces Cheddar Cheese, grated
Chopped cilantro for garnish – optional
1. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high or build a medium-hot charcoal Coat the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Grill the chicken until just cooked through, 4-5 minutes a side for boneless chicken breasts.
3. Cool and then slice into thin strips or shred.
4. In a small skillet, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until very hot. Dip the edge of a tortilla into the oil to check – it should sizzle immediately.
5. Using tongs, put a tortilla into the pan and cook until soft and lightly brown on each side, about 15-20 seconds per side (at the most).
6. Drain on paper towels.
7. Add oil as needed and continue until all 12 tortillas are done.
8. In a baking dish large enough to hold four separate stacks of tortillas, ladle a thin layer of sauce.
9. Lay four tortillas in the dish and ladle another ½ cup (4 ounces/112 grams) of sauce over the tortillas.
10. Divide half the chicken among the first layer of tortillas, top with another ½ cup of sauce and 1/3 of the grated cheeses.
11. Stack another four tortillas, top with the rest of the chicken, more sauce and another third of the cheese.
12. Finish with the third tortilla, topped with the remaining sauce and cheese.
13. Bake until the sauce has thickened and the cheese melted, about 20 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes.
14. To serve, cut into squares like you would a lasagna and transfer each cut enchilada stack to a plate. Spoon any leftover sauce over the stacks and sprinkle with cilantro, if you wish. The stacks may also be cooked in individual gratin dishes.
4 to 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 5-inch chunks
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons canola or neutral vegetable oil
1 quart chicken or beef broth or stock
2 cups chunky tomato salsa either prepared or homemade
1 teaspoon chile powder
2 bay leaves
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly-sliced
1. Rub the pieces of pork shoulder all over with salt. Refrigerate, wrapped, for 1 to 3 days. (You can skip this step if you want. Just be sure to salt the pork before searing the meat in the next step.)
2. Heat the oil in a roasting pan set on the stove top. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before turning them over. If your cooking vessel is too small to cook them in a single layer, cook them in two batches.
3. Once all the pork is browned, remove it all from the pot and blot away any excess fat with a paper towel, then pour about a cup of the stock or broth into the hot pot, scraping the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged utensil to lift up all the tasty brown bits (aka fond).
4. Return the pork chunks to pot and add the remaining broth or stock, salsa, bay leaves, chile powders, garlic, and enough water so the pork is completely covered.
5. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 3 to 4 hours (or longer) until the pork pulls apart easily. Add salt to taste if needed.
6. Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove meat from liquid in pot (discard the liquid) and spread the meat out in a roasting pan. Break the meat into small chunks. Roast meat for 15 to 20 minutes until brown and crispy.
7. Drizzle the carnitas with Rick Bayless’ red mole sauce, linked above, for my porkchiladas, (add a poached egg and green chile sauce, also linked above, along with queso fresco, cheddar or asadero cheeses) or just enjoy as is with lots of guacamole and tortillas!