The weather is heating up here in Michigan, which means it's time for some lightened up enchiladas. As much as I love me some creamy enchiladas (as in, eat them at LEAST biweekly during the winter months), they are just not something I'm dying to eat when it's hot out.
What I AM looking forward to eating all summer long though: These enchiladas. They're made with crispy corn tortillas, doused with oh-so-refreshing salsa verde, and filled with delicious, smokey shredded pork. Did I mention that they're the easiest enchiladas to make?
They are. And you can trust me on this. I make a lot of enchiladas. With minimal meal prep, these puppies can be on the dinner table in under 30 minutes!
I like to eat these enchiladas with Mexican corn salad, which is another thing that is so quick and easy to make while your enchiladas are in the oven, and so delicious! Fresh corn, tomato, black beans, avocado, jalapeno, red onion, cilantro, and lime juice all tossed together for a no-nonsense salad. It also functions as a dip/salsa. Eat it on chips, throw your leftovers into a taco, or eat it straight. I pile my plate pretty high with this stuff.
Here's how you make it:
Start by making your pork. I love using pork butt because it's so darn economical, versatile, and easy to make. This method uses 3 pounds of pork, which will definitely be more than you will need for this recipe - freeze any leftovers to use in future enchiladas! Blot your pork down with paper towels and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. No need to trim the fat, as most of it will cook off, and the rest will be easy to separate while shredding. Place meat in slow cooker along with 1/2 cup of water and cook for 4-5 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low.
Once cooked, remove from slow cooker and shred, discarding any remaining fat.
Heat a small amount of oil in small skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, begin crisping the tortillas. This is by far the most time-consuming part of using corn tortillas, but it is so worth it! It's tempting to skip, but if you don't crisp your tortillas, they will break when you try roll them and your enchiladas will be so sad and soggy. So don't skip this step!!
Add one tortilla to the lightly oiled skillet, and flip every 30 seconds or so, until it begins to turn golden brown. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Add more oil to the pan as necessary and continue with the rest of the tortillas, flipping frequently until crisp and removing to a plate when done.
While you're crisping your tortillas, start the corn salad. I learned this method of cooking corn inside from a friend years ago, and I have to say it is the BEST. It yields perfectly crisp corn every time. That's right, no mushy overcooked corn (aka, the bane of every midwesterner's existence), and it is practically effort-free. Submerge the shucked ears of corn in a large pot of cold water. Salt it slightly, and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, remove the pot from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove your perfectly cooked corns. Ta-da! So easy. Set these aside to cool.
Back to the enchiladas. Once your tortillas are nice and toasty, add a couple of tablespoons of pork to the center of each, roll up tightly, and place in two rows in a 9x13" baking pan. When all of the enchiladas are rolled and in the pan, pour the salsa verde over top and sprinkle with pepperjack. I like to keep the salsa verde just in the middle of the enchiladas, because the exposed ends of the enchiladas will get even crispier in the oven. Pop in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
While you're waiting for your enchiladas to bake, make the Mexican corn salad. Rinse and drain the beans, chop the tomato, avocado, cilantro, jalapeno, and red onion, and cut the corn from the cob. Toss all of these together with the juice from one lime, and season to taste with salt.
Can I tell you a life changing trick to cutting the corn off the cob? Fair warning, this may be one of those 'tricks' that I find to be amazing, then I share it with someone else and they're all, 'that's so obvious, I've been doing that my whole life, how did you not know that?' (does this happen to you a lot?), but if you don't already know this, it probably will change your life.
Okay, so all of my life I've been standing my ears of corn up vertically and cutting down the whole length of the ear. If this is how you've been cutting your corn, you probably know that it makes a mess and the kernels jump everywhere EXCEPT the cutting board. Solution: Lay the ear sideways and make one clean, easy cut using a large knife. Turn the ear and continue all the way around. You'll be left with a square ear, four clean slices of corn, and you won't have to worry about stepping on squishy kernels every time you walk through the kitchen!
Serve your lightened-up summer enchiladas straight from the oven topped with cilantro, diced red onion, sour cream, and a generous side of corn salad. Yum!
What are the ways you like to lighten up your favorite winter meals?
Enchiladas Verdes with Mexican Corn Salad
IngredientsFor the enchiladas:
- 3 pounds pork butt (See note)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup water
- 12 corn tortillas
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 cup salsa verde
- 4 ounces shredded pepper jack
For topping: Diced onion, sour cream, cilantro
For the corn salad:
- 4 ears of corn, shucked
- 1 (15 ounce) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 roma tomato, chopped
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1-2 jalapenos, seeds removed and diced
- 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- juice of 1 lime
DirectionsFor the enchiladas:
- Blot pork dry with paper towels. Season with salt, pepper, and smoked paprika and place in slow cooker. Add 1/2 cup water, cover, and cook 4-5 hours on high, or 7-8 hours on low. Once cooked, remove from slow cooker and shred, discarding any remaining fat. Add more salt if needed and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a small skillet and heat over medium heat. Once hot, begin crisping the tortillas. Add one a time, and flip frequently (approximately every 30 seconds), until golden brown and slightly crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel and continue with the rest of the tortillas, adding additional oil to the skillet as needed.
- Place 2-3 tablespoons of the shredded pork in the center of each tortilla and roll tightly. Assemble in a 9x13" glass baking dish to form two rows of 6. Pour the salsa verde down the center of the enchiladas and top with cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly, the cheese is melted, and the exposed ends of the tortillas are crispy. Serve immediately topped with cilantro, sour cream, and a side of corn salad.
For the corn salad:
- Submerge the ears of corn in a large pot of cold water. Salt lightly and bring to a boil over high heat. Once the water reaches a rolling boil, remove from heat and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Remove the ears of corn and cut the kernels from the cob.
- Toss the corn kernels together with the black beans, tomato, avocado, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, salt, and lime juice. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use. This can be made up to two days in advance, though I would hold off on adding the avocado unless serving within 2 hours.
3 pounds of pork butt will yield more than you will need for this recipe. Pulled pork is great to have on hand to use in pasta, on sandwiches, or in future enchiladas, so I like to make as much as I can at a time and keep in the freezer (that whole 'cook once, eat twice' thing!). Feel free to multiply this recipe by however much pork you can fit in your slow cooker!