Well, THAT was good.

Enchiladas, fresh out of the oven

Green enchiladas. They took over an hour to make, but boy were they worth it.

Yes, of course I’m going to inflict the recipe – loosely based on Rick Bayless – on you. You have been warned.

Green Enchiladas with Pork

  • cooked pork cut into small pieces (or chicken or turkey; for vegetarians, maybe sliced or chopped cooked portobello mushrooms)
  • corn tortillas – about 3 per person
  • about a  pound of fresh tomatillos
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 c chopped onion
  • 1/2 of a hot pepper (see below)
  • about 1/2 c cilantro (optional, but recommended) *
  • large pinch of sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • oil
  • 2 oz colby-jack cheese, grated

You’ll need about a tablespoon and a half of chopped cooked pork per enchilada – three enchiladas per person is a reasonable serving.

Tomatillos just before baking

Raw tomatillos

Pull the papery skins off the tomatillos and wash off their sticky coating. Bake at 450 for about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, chop the garlic, onion, and hot pepper (I used a Hungarian wax pepper, moderately but not wildly hot. Choose something that fits your heat tolerance.) Wash about a quarter of a bunch of cilantro and discard the wiry stems. (Some people apparently loathe cilantro. If you’re one of them, leave it out. But the dish is much better with it.)

The other sauce ingredients

Cilantro, onion, garlic, pepper (clockwise from upper left)

When the tomatillos (remember the tomatillos? They’re in the oven) turn slightly yellow-green, puree them coarsely in a food processor or blender. Heat a teaspoon of oil, and saute the onion, garlic, and pepper for about five minutes until the onion is translucent and the pepper is slightly softened. Add the tomatillo puree and simmer for about five minutes. Puree the cilantro and add it. Taste the sauce. If it’s too sour for your taste, stir in a large pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. Mix two or three spoonfuls of sauce into the pork.

Time to make the enchiladas. Have the tortillas, the oil, the pork, and a baking dish all next to your stove. Heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in a hot skillet and put the first tortilla in the oil. Turn it after a few seconds and heat the other side. Let the oil drain from the tortilla briefly. (This is important to make the tortillas flexible enough to roll. I’ve tried various other approaches, like steaming the tortillas and heating them in the oven after brushing with oil, and the other methods just don’t work very well. Alas.) Now put about a tablespoon and a half of pork on the tortilla, roll it into a cylinder, and put it seam side down in your baking dish.

Keep frying and filling tortillas, adding oil to the pan as needed. (You’ll probably end up adding about a teaspoon of oil per serving of three tortillas. Not fat free, but still only about 40 calories.) When you’re done, pour the sauce over the baking dish, coaxing it to cover the enchiladas evenly. Top with the grated cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy yourselves.

* Oh yes, the rest of the bunch of cilantro? If you’re as big a cilantro-and-garlic fan as you should be, try making some moretum – an ancient Roman dip for bread. And while you’re checking out the recipe, take a look at SPQRBlues. You’ll want to move to Herculaneum! (Well, as long as you have a guaranteed way out of town at the critical moment….)


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