Today I will be making a pork enchilada casserole, so I thought I would take some pictures and share the process with all of you. I have craving these for a few weeks now, so I am very excited to enjoy the finished product.
Although this recipe is pretty easy, it is a bit time consuming, because you need to cook a roast first. So, in anticipation of making an enchilada casserole today, I cooked a pork roast in a Crockpot yesterday.
Yesterday morning I went to my local grocery store to pick up a roast. Luckily they had some nice pork shoulder roasts for $2.49 a pound. They also had pork loin roasts, but those don’t end up shredding apart as well in the end, so I steered clear of those for this recipe.
I chose a big 5 lb roast, so we could enjoy some tasty pork roast for dinner last night, and still have enough left to make enchiladas today.
For this roast, I gave it a rub down with a thin layer of canola oil over the whole roast. This will aid in getting a flavorful browning on the roast prior to putting it in the Crockpot. I then sprinkled it with some white wine vinegar. It adds a nice flavor and helps with tenderizing.
Now that this base is on the roast I can go ahead and season it. I put a good amount of salt over the whole roast on every side and end. This was a pretty big roast and I want to make sure i put enough salt so that the meat near the center has good flavor like the exterior.
Then I shake on pepper, garlic powder, and paprika on every side. I try to put a pretty even layer of garlic powder and paprika and go a bit lighter on the pepper. Paprika is good for color, flavor, and also has other health benefits, especially when searing meat. In addition, I decided to get a little crazy, and I sprinkled lemon pepper on one side of the roast also for a little something extra.
Spicing it Up
If you want to give your roast a little spice, you can use cayenne powder instead of, or in combination with the paprika. A half and half mixture works great.
- Canola Oil
- White Wine Vinegar
- Garlic Powder (or granules)
- Lemon Pepper
- Cayenne Powder (optional)
- Large Onion
You want to give your roast a quick browning treatment in a large frying pan. Cook it hot and fast. You are not trying to cook the roast here, you just want to get a nice flavor seared on the outside. I flip mine with tongs, and let it cook for about one minute on each and every side.
If it gets a little blacker than brown by accident, don’t freak out. (As you can see here, mine got a little dark on one side) It will still come out fine. Just try to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn on every side. It is really a pretty quick process. I preheat my crockpot to high while I am doing this part.
When you are done just plop it in the crockpot. I like to put it fat side up, if you have a fat side. I put about half an inch or so of water in the pan that I just seared the roast in to gather some of the goodies left behind. Then pour the flavorful water in the crockpot. Try not to pour it over the roast itself, so as to not wash off seasoning on the roast. Just pour it in empty space around the roast so it sits in the bottom.
Then I cut up one large onion (I used an organic yellow onion) into 6 or 8 big pieces and throw that in also. Adds some more moisture and good flavor as well.
I cooked mine on high for about 6.5 hours. Don’t forget the cardinal rule with crockpot cooking… Do not open the lid to check on your roast. This lets all the heat out and will increase your cooking time. Of course, when it gets towards the end, you will have to open the lid to check it. Just resist the urge as long as you can.
If you are like me, around 5 hours in, I start getting antsy. When the temptation to check the roast cannot be fought off any longer here is what I do…Have a fork in hand, open the lid and quickly give a poke and pull with your fork on the top corner of the roast. Make it quick, and put the lid right back on.
From this test you will be able to tell if the roast is ready or not. If it pulled off super easy, like basically fell off when you forked it, you are probably good to go. Give that hot little piece you took off a good blow and give it a taste. It should be soft and juicy. If it is still a little chewy, give it another hour. If it shreds really easy or seems to be dry at all, better call it done. But doing a fifth hour check should result in the avoidance of any accidental dry meat situation.
When it is done, go ahead and enjoy your roast with some mashed potatoes and your favorite veggies. You should have plenty of yummy juice in your slow cooker to make a super great gravy with too. Just make sure you leave enough to make enchiladas the next day. If you want to go straight from roast to enchiladas that is fine too.
The Enchilada Casserole
Traditional enchiladas use corn tortillas, but in our house we prefer flour tortillas. Corn tortillas stay a little more firm, which some people may like. I just think flour tastes better, but you can use which ever you like best. Or you can always try a few of both, which I always recommend. What better way to find out what you like best?!
Enchiladas are fun to experiment with. There are so many possibilities. You can use different fillings, sauces, and as I mentioned before, tortillas.
So, although there are many options, today I will be sharing my own special version.
What You Need
- Standard Glass or Ceramic Baking Pan(s) 9 x 13 or 8 x 8 (depending on how many you want to make)
- Flour Tortillas
- Pork Roast (also works great with leftover chicken)
- Sharp or Medium Cheddar Cheese- Shredded
- Sour Cream
- Verde (Green) Enchilada Sauce
- Pinto or Black Beans (optional)
- Jalapenos Finely Chopped (optional)
These are really pretty easy and straight forward to prepare. Here, at my house, we like to make a couple different versions or enchiladas so we have a variety of flavors in our meal.
Today we are going to do 3 different versions.
First we will make them the way we usually make enchiladas. The difference is more often than not we make them using leftover chicken, after cooking a whole chicken. But today we are using our pork shoulder roast, which i am very excited about.
Step 1– Shred your meat. Don’t over work yourself here. If you under cooked your roast a little, and it isn’t shredding really well, just try to make as small of pieces as you can. Shredded just works best, because it makes each bite more uniform, and doesn’t leave gaps inside the tortillas.
Step 2– Set half of your shredded meat to the side for Version #2
Step 3– Version #1- Take the other half of your shredded meat, the sour cream, and some of your shredded cheese, and stir together in a bowl.
Step 4– Take filling and put in tortilla. You should be able to roll the tortilla enough that one side flaps over the other. Then put flap side of your filled tortilla facing down in your pan. Continue doing this until your pan is full, or you run out of meat.
We did half of this batch with black beans added to the meat and half without, just to mix up the flavors some. Feel free to try this. It also makes your meat go further if you are running a little short. (Pinto beans also work great)
Step 5– We usually put sour cream with all of our meat when we do the chicken enchilada casserole. But because this pork roast is so flavorful, we decided to do half without the sour cream. (Of course, we can use it as a topping later if we want)
So, for this half of the batch we are going to do some with meat, cheese, and beans, and some with just meat and cheese.
Step 6– After you have all your tortillas lined up side by side in your pan, pour on the Verde Sauce. The tortillas will soak up a lot of the sauce, so don’t be stingy, just pour it on. Then put the rest of your cheddar cheese on top.
Spicing it Up
You can very easily just add finely chopped chili peppers to your filling mix. Jalapenos, habaneros, or whatever your favorite hot pepper happens to be, would be a great spicy addition to this tasty concoction.
Today I added some jalapeno to a couple of each kind of enchiladas included in our casserole. I marked the spicy ones with a toothpick, so that anyone who doesn’t like spicy food doesn’t get a mouth sizzling surprise.
The fiery freshness of the little bits of chili peppers within the enchiladas mixes so well with the other ingredients. truly delicious!
Have your oven preheated to 350 degrees. All the ingredients in this dish are already cooked, so basically you are just heating it up and melting the cheese. This should take about 25 minutes.
Then you are ready to enjoy! You can cut and scoop enchiladas out with a spatula right onto your plate. Feel free to have condiments such as guacamole, sour cream, and salsa handy to add some flare.
Don’t forget the hot sauce! There are many hot sauces that will go great with these pork enchiladas. I chose to use a few different sauces. Adding a few drops of one at a time to a bite here and there.
I tried four different hot sauces with this dish today: Trader Joe’s Habanero, La Anita XHot, Tajin, and of course my old standby- Tabasco. Trader Joe’s Habanero complimented the enchilada flavor the best. It is really a great hot sauce. Very tasty with a nice kick!
Pork Enchilada Casserole in Reflection
Oh boy, this is such a wonderfully tasty comfort food. I hope you enjoy yours as much as we enjoyed ours. My belly is full now, but I will be happily heating up my leftover enchilada casserole again tomorrow for another night of delicious food.
If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions I would be happy to hear from you. You can leave a comment below, or reach me by using the contact form.