Thursday, March 29, 2012

Recipe: Pork & Green Chillies Enchiladas

As you see yourself, I once saw myself; as you see me now, you will be seen. – Mexican Proverb

One is actually enough, but if you're hungry have two!
Getting older sucks, but each year that goes by I feel affinity with the quote above a little more. Thank goodness that making and eating delicious enchiladas never gets old.

There’s so much variation capable in enchiladas that you will never run out of different combinations.

The filling. Flavourful with hints of lime, cumin and cilantro.
Loosely speaking, enchiladas are tortillas wrapped around a filling that can be composed of a variety of ingredients, including meat, cheese, vegetables, seafood or combinations thereof.

Although wrapped food can be dated back as far as the Maya, enchiladas as we would know them started out life in Mexico as a street food. At that time they were a corn tortilla dipped in chilli sauce and eaten without any filling at all. But now they have taken on numerous fillings and sauces.

The most usual sauce used on enchiladas is a chilli pepper-based concoction but there are myriad variations within (and without) that too.

Some commonly used sauces are mole (chocolate spiced), red enchilada sauce, green enchilada sauce, and even white sauce. In south and central Texas the favoured enchilada sauce is a sort of gravy-like brown chilli sauce. So you see, there’s a lot of choice.

My enchiladas rely on a salsa for sauce. I know it’s not enchilada sauce but seems to work every time. Combining tomatoes and corn with meat in the filling rounds out a complete meal: dairy, meat, vegetable, grain…

The trick to making good enchiladas is to ensure you have lots of flavour in the filling. That’s the reason there's 2 tsp of cumin. You’ll need good flavour to carry the day.

This recipe is my base that I use to make lots of different variations. Sometimes the corn is back beans; sometimes the tomato is pineapple. I think you can get my drift. Change an ingredient and you get a new recipe. You don’t even have to include meat if you don’t want to.

But the mainstays remain: the tortilla, the cheese and a sauce. Try your hand at rolling some tortillas, and don’t be afraid to stray from the recipe!

Just put in the oven...
Pork & Green Chillies Enchiladas
Prep: 20 min  |  Cook: 30 min  |  Serves 4-8
1 lb pork loin, in small cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
127 ml can chopped green chillies
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
341 ml (12 fl. oz) whole kernel corn
1 cup chopped coriander
650 ml salsa, medium hot
juice of 1 lime
3/4 cup grated monterey jack cheese
3/4 cup grated cheddar
8 10” tortillas
salt and cracked black pepper
cumin, sour cream and pickled hot peppers to serve

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Heat the oil in a sauté or frying pan with deep sides.

Hot out of the oven.
Add the chopped onion and sauté until just beginning to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the pork and continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink. Add the cumin, cayenne, garlic, chopped green chillies, tomatoes and corn. Cook until warmed through and then remove from the heat.

Pour about 1/3 of the salsa into the filling and mix well. Add about 1 tsp each of salt and pepper, or to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro and lime juice.

Place about 1/2 cup of the salsa in an oven proof pan capable of holding 8 rolled tortillas. Smear the sauce over the bottom to cover.

Divide the filling into 8 equal portions and fill each tortilla, rolling closed and ending with the seam side down in the pan. Repeat until all the filling and remaining tortillas are used.

Mix about 3/4 cup of water (or cream which is even better) with the remaining salsa and pour over the top of the rolled enchiladas.

Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden.

Serve with sour cream, pickled peppers and cumin at the table.


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