Smothered Enchiladas

Exquisite Enchiladas

•    1 Tbsp. each cumin, New Mexico Chile Powder, garlic powder
•    2 tsp. kosher salt

•    2 tsp. ground oregano
•    2 lbs. stewing meat (pot roast, which is usually chuck but can also be shank, bottom round or brisket)
•    1 Tbsp. canola oil

•    1 small yellow onion, medium dice
•    8 oz. can Herdez Salsa Verde Mexicana Picante
•    6 oz. Curzan Light Rum
•    16 oz. Pacific Organic Foods Smoked Red Pepper and Black Bean Soup
•    8-12 oz. 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken stock

•    14 oz. (1 small can) Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chiles
•    3 Tbsp. pork fat, lard or canola oil
•    4 Tbsp. masa (corn flour) or finely milled corn meal
•    Chile powder

•    8 ounces crumbly, salty cheese like cotija, myzithra or feta
•    2 oz. melty cheese like queso Oaxaca, Chihuahua or mozzerella
•    4 oz. canned pumkin, or about 1/2 cup cooked, mashed squash or yam

•    9-12 small soft corn tortillas

Combine cumin, chile powder, garlic powder, salt and oregano in a non-reactive bowl.  Cut meat into 1” chunks and dredge the meat in the seasonings, rubbing them into the meat with your hands. 

Set aside and warm canola oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed cast iron, ceramic or enamel Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid.  Sear half the meat on all sides until the cubes are golden brown.  Remove from pan and set aside.  If the oil is smoking from excess seasoning in the pan, wipe it out carefully with a paper towel and add fresh oil back to the pan.  Finish searing the remaining meat.

Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent.  Deglaze with the rum, scraping any cooked bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  Add Herdez sauce and packaged soup.  Stir well.  Add meat back to the pot and reduce heat to low and cover with lid.  (Alternately, you can put the covered Dutch oven in your oven, set at 275 F.  Cook for 3 hours, or until meat pulls apart easily with two forks.).

While the meat is stewing, put together the enchilada topping.  In a heavy sauté or fry pan, heat pork fat, lard or oil in pan until warm (not searingly hot).  Add masa flour or fine cornmeal and stir well to incorporate into the fat.  Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the mixture has turned light brown.  Add in chile powder and continue stirring.  Add canned tomatoes to this mixture, and stir well.  The flour and fat mixture will thicken the tomato sauce as you stir; remove from heat after 3-5 minutes or when most of the liquid has become quite thick.  Set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.

When the meat is done, remove it from liquid and either chop it up very fine or break it up in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle set at lowest speed.  When finished, add in pumpkin and crumble half the firm salty cheese in as well.  Mix with hands until combined.  Taste for seasonings, add salt, pepper, cumin and/or chile powder to your liking.

While you are doing this, bring the stewing liquid to a rapid boil until it has reduced by half.  Taste it; it should be just little bit spicy, rich and very tangy.
Take enchiladas and dip each one in the reduced stewing sauce.  One by one, fill them with the meat mixture and set all, side by side, in a lightly oiled 9 X 5 X 4” pan.  Cover with the masa-thickened tomato sauce.  Top with remaining salty cheese and all the melty cheese.  Bake in 425 F oven for 20 minutes or until top is brown and bubbly. 

Serve 2 or 3 to a plate with reduced stew sauce underneath. 

Makes 4-6 servings.