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2 Pork pibel enchiladas on a festive mexican plate
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Yucatán-Style BBQ Pork Enchiladas

This pibil enchilada recipe, inspired by one used at Bella's Restaurant in Taos New Mexico, pops with earthy achiote paste and citrus juices, yielding a luscious, spicy pulled pork enchilada.
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Marinade time 3 hours
Servings 18 enchiladas
Calories 254kcal

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pounds Boneless pork shoulder roast Large chunks of fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch thick slabs. Or 6 pounds bone-in pork shoulder, cut into large chunks.
  • For the Marinade:
  • 5 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup achiote paste
  • 2 tablespoons Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole allspice berries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Kosher salt
  • To Cook The Pork
  • 15 1/2 can Tomatoes chopped and drained
  • 2 medium Poblano Peppers tops cut off, and sliced
  • 1 sweet onion sliced
  • 3 whole bay leaves
  • To Build The Enchiladas
  • 4 cups Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 cups Cheddar Cheese Grated
  • 18 Yellow Corn tortillas softened by frying
  • 3 Tablespoons canola oil to fry tortillas

Instructions

  • For the Pork Marinade: Toss unpeeled garlic in a dry skillet over high heat until starting to toast and get dark spots. Peel the skins when cool enough to handle.
  • Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add achiote, oregano, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns, cumin, and allspice and cook, tossing and stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer this mixture to a food processor along with garlic, orange juice, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce, and kosher salt.
  • Blend until smooth. Season to taste with more salt if needed.
  • Place pork in a roaster pan. Pour marinade over meat and rub it in with your hands. Cover, refrigerate, and let it rest at least 3 hours and up to overnight.
  • To Cook The Pork: Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Drain tomatoes. Slice peppers and onions and tuck them along with bay leaves within the layers of the pork.
  • Cover with foil and cook 3 hours.
  • For the Enchilada Sauce: In the meantime make homemade enchilada sauce (recommended) Or open cans of purchased enchilada sauce to equal 4 cups. Place in a wide bowl and set aside.
  • Shred pork with two forks, soaking it in drippings.
  • To build the enchiladas: I like to use 2 - 3 10 1/2" by 7" casserole dishes. They're a perfect fit for corn tortillas.
  • Pour just enough of the enchilada sauce to cover the bottom of the casserole dishes by about 1/2 inch.
  • Set up your assembly line in this order. Skillet to fry tortillas, plate to place the tortillas once they're fried. A bowl of enchilada sauce (bowl should be wide enough to easily dip fried tortillas, a bowl of shredded pork, the shredded cheese and a casserole pan lined with enchilada sauce. Keep a couple of sets of tongs handy to handle food.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, fry the corn tortillas. Using tongs, place a single corn tortilla into the oil and cook or 30 seconds. Turn the tortilla over and cook for an additional 15 seconds. Remove the tortilla to a plate and cover with a paper towel to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, adding more oil when necessary and stacking the tortillas on top of each other and keeping the paper towel on top. Expert tip: the corn tortillas will break if the oil is not hot enough. Keep that heat at medium high. The tortillas should be soft, not crispy. You want to be able to roll them easily.
  • Place 2 cups of the enchilada sauce into a shallow bowl. A deep dish pie plate works very well. Using tongs or your hands, dip a warm tortilla into the enchilada sauce and then place the tortilla into one of the casserole pans.
  • Add a spoon full of the shredded pork, then a pinch of shredded cheese. Don't over-fill the tortillas or they'll break. Roll the tortillas and place them seam side down in the pan, moving the tortilla to the end of the casserole so you can add more rolled tortillas. Repeat.
  • Once the enchiladas are rolled, sprinkle liberally with more grated cheese and spoon more enchilada sauce over the top. About 3/4 of a cup of sauce will do.
  • Bake the enchiladas until bubbly. 350 degrees for 20 - 30 minutes.

Notes

Friends don't let friends eat Mexican food without Pickled Red Onions. Serve them table side as a topping for these pork enchiladas.
Yellow corn tortillas are traditionally used to make enchiladas. They have a more "corn" flavor and are sturdier than white corn tortillas. You most certainly can use white corn tortillas, but they will be more finicking during the frying process. But will work.
Tongs: when using tongs in handling corn tortillas during the frying process, I find the silicone coated tongs to work better than metal. The metal can tend to tear the tortillas with their sharp edges.
Freezing enchiladas after they are cooked works very well. Just cover well. You can bake a whole pan of enchiladas for a latter meal. Simply thaw and gently re-heat in the oven at 300 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes.
I've not had good luck freezing un-cooked enchiladas. They can become soggy and the texture of the cheese becomes odd, affecting both taste and texture. Bake them first and then freeze.
Reheating individual enchiladas: I love having a single enchilada for breakfast the next day. Place an enchilada on a plate, cover with a paper towel, or your plastic microwave lid and reheat for 1 minute at 50% power. If it's not hot enough, reheat at full power in 10 second increments.
What to serve with enchiladas? A Mexican Rice side dish is the most popular option, and a Mexican themed salad would be a great choice. Take a look at this recipe for Southwestern Salad with Black Beans. For a heartier side, choose Cowboy Beans. And for dessert, try this Pepita Mexican Chocolate Cake.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 647mg | Potassium: 323mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 588IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 147mg | Iron: 2mg