Enchiladas have to be one of the most comforting Mexican meals out there. What I love about them is that you can adapt the ingredients to what you have in your fridge, whether it is leftover rotisserie chicken left from the weekend, shredded beef from a stew, or, in this case, pulled pork.
This enchilada recipe is a tasty way to repurpose leftovers and transform them into another delicious meal for the family.
How to Make Pulled Pork Enchiladas
All you have to do is to prepare an easy enchilada sauce, warm up the filling of your choice, and lightly fry corn tortillas to get ready to fill them up. Wrap the filling and arrange the enchiladas in a baking dish with the sauce poured on top. Top with cheese and bake in the oven until melty and gooey.
The roasted tomato-based sauce is medium spicy thanks to the chile arbol. You can adjust the spice by adding more or less peppers. Combined with the flavor of lightly fried tortillas, salty carnitas, and melty cheese, pulled pork enchiladas make for a delicious and satisfying meal that your family will love.
I like to serve these enchiladas with a green salad, Mexican rice, and black beans or refried beans.
Options for Filling These Enchiladas
- Carnitas or Pulled Pork: Slow-cooked shredded pork is my main choice for this recipe. You can either prepare it from scratch or use leftovers. Carnitas are cooked slowly and then crisp up at the end, making them the perfect combination of tender meat with deliciously crispy edges. Instant Pot Mexican Pulled Pork also makes a good filling for enchiladas.
- Chicken: Store-bought rotisserie chicken or leftover shredded homemade roast chicken make a convenient and tasty filling for enchiladas.
- Beef: Leftover slow-cooked beef that you can easily shred (such as this recipe for pot roast) can be repurposed during the week into this enchilada recipe.
Make It Ahead
To save time, you can prepare the enchilada sauce a day or two ahead of time. After blending, store in an airtight container in the fridge.
What makes this recipe extra quick is that you use leftover meat from a previous meal. If you are making the carnitas or pulled pork from scratch, you can prepare it up to 3 days ahead. Let the pork cool down completely and keep it in the fridge in a closed container. Just reheat the pulled pork before rolling it up in tortillas.
I'm not a fan of soggy enchiladas, so it’s best to assemble them 30 minutes or less before baking and serving them warm.
Tips and Tricks
- Before adding filling to your tortillas, shallow fry them for about a minute. This will help to make them sturdier to hold the filling as well as making them easier to roll up.
- When preparing the enchilada sauce, tuck the chiles de árbol under the tomatoes. This will prevent them from burning while in the oven and allow them to absorb the pan juices at the same time.
- Substitute chiles de árbol for one or two dried guajillo chiles to achieve a less spicy enchilada sauce. Other good substitutes are ancho, cascabel, or pasilla chiles.
How to Store and Reheat
I recommend serving these enchiladas freshly made for the best results. To store leftovers, place them in a closed container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 days.
To reheat, place them into a small baking dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F/180°C until warmed through, about 20 minutes.
You can store leftover enchiladas in the freezer for up to 1 month if you use a freshly prepared filling (not leftover meat). Defrost fully in the fridge overnight, cover with foil, and bake in the oven until warmed. You may want to add some fresh enchilada sauce and cheese on top before placing them in the oven.
Enchiladas for Everyone
Pulled Pork Enchiladas
The homemade enchilada sauce has a nice kick to it that mellows out a bit once it’s combined with the enchiladas. If you have a low spice tolerance, use just 2 chiles, swap for guajillo chiles, or omit them altogether.
For a shortcut, you can substitute the homemade enchilada sauce with a store-bought red enchilada sauce. You’ll need about 2 cups of sauce.
4 large plum tomatoes (about 1.4lb/650g), quartered
1 medium white onion, cut into chunks
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 4 dried chiles de árbol, stemmed and deseeded
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
4 cups (640g) carnitas or pulled pork
1/2 cup vegetable oil, divided, as needed
12 corn tortillas
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack, cheddar, or Chihuahua cheese
1 cup sour cream, for serving
1 small red onion, finely diced, for serving
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped, for serving
Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
Roast the vegetables for the sauce:
Add the quartered tomatoes, chopped onion, and garlic cloves to an oven-proof dish around 9 x 13 inches in size. Drizzle with the olive oil and tuck the chiles under the tomatoes (to keep them from burning).
Bake until the tomatoes and onions are tender and lightly charred on the edges, about 30 minutes.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and add the water while it is still hot. Use a wooden spoon to stir and scrape up all of the roasted bits from the bottom of the dish.
Blend the enchilada sauce:
Place all the roasted vegetables, chiles, and juices into a blender. Add the salt, pepper, and cumin and blend until a smooth sauce forms. If needed, add more water (up to 1/4 cup) to reach the right consistency. Set the enchilada sauce aside.
Warm the filling:
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F/180°C. Place the leftover carnitas or pulled pork in an oven-proof dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake until warm, about 20 minutes.
Warm the tortillas:
Meanwhile, prepare a medium frying pan with half of the vegetable oil and warm it up over medium-high heat. When hot, add a corn tortilla (or multiple tortillas in a single layer, depending on the size of your pan) and lightly fry for about 30 seconds on each side. Don’t let it get too crispy—you want the tortilla to be pliable and sturdy.
Place the tortilla on a large plate or tray and repeat with the rest of the tortillas. Add more oil to the pan as needed.
Assemble the enchiladas:
Once the filling has been heated and the tortillas are ready, add roughly 1/3 cup of carnitas to a lightly fried tortilla and sprinkle with cheese (you’ll be making about 12 enchiladas).
Wrap the tortilla around the filling into a taquito-like shape and place it into a medium-sized baking dish (about 7 x 11 inches). Repeat with the rest of the filling and tortillas until your dish is full (reserving about half of the cheese for the top), nestling the enchiladas next to each other in a single layer.
Add the sauce and cheese and bake:
Pour the enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas and distribute evenly. Top with the remaining grated cheese.
Bake until the cheese fully melts, about 10 minutes.
Serve immediately while the enchiladas are still warm. Add spoonfuls of sour cream on top and garnish with the onion and cilantro, as desired.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 4 to 5|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 69g||88%|
|Saturated Fat 22g||111%|
|Total Carbohydrate 44g||16%|
|Dietary Fiber 7g||25%|
|Total Sugars 9g|
|Vitamin C 41mg||205%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|