Saturday, May 2, 2009
Mr. T Enchiladas
Why Mr. T Enchiladas? Well, we know that Mr. T is a paragon of wisdom and inspiration. He's tough but compassionate; kind to women and children but not afraid to pity a fool who deserves it. We could use more role models like Mr. T. And enchiladas are like Mr. T for the soul.
What we have here are two basic themes for Mr. T Enchiladas: with meat and without. You can make them exactly as the recipe states, or you can get a little creative and improvise. As Mr. T probably never said, I pity the fool who follows the rules all the time.
We'll start with the sauce, which is the same whether or not you're using meat.
3 cups water
6 oz. tomato paste
3 jalapeno peppers, minced
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, minced (can be omitted if you're dealing with an onion allergy)
about a teaspoon each of: oregano, cumin, salt, chile powder of your choice
about a half cup of fresh chopped cilantro
What you'll do:
Place all of the sauce ingredients in a sauce pot and slowly bring to a boil, stirring as needed to achieve an even consistency. Once it comes to a boil reduce the heat to a simmer and stir occasionally for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
The vegetarian enchiladas are called the Mr. T Stay In School Enchiladas. Why? Because a lot of us try vegetarianism for the first time when we're in college. Like staying in school, being a vegetarian can sometimes require a little encouragement and these enchiladas can do both.
3 cans of black or pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1-2 tomatoes, diced
1/2 an onion, finely chopped (can be omitted for those pesky onion allergies)
salt and pepper to taste
What you'll do:
Combine the beans, tomato, onion, salt and pepper and about 1 cup of the cheese in a bowl and gently toss until evenly mixed. Wow, that was easy. You're ready to begin assembling your enchiladas!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a ladle, spoon enough enchilada sauce into a cake or lasagna pan to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Take a tortilla and spoon some of the bean mixture into it, then ladle some sauce over the filling, maybe about 3-4 tablespoons worth. Roll the tortilla up and place in the pan. Do this until your pan is full of filled enchiladas and you have no bean filling left over. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and finish with 3-4 handfuls of the shredded cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Pity some fools.
The non-vegetarian enchiladas are called the Mr. T Get a Mortgage Enchiladas. Like getting a mortgage, making them requires a little foresight and planning, but is well worth it in the end.
about 4 lbs. pork shoulder (I haven't tried it with beef yet, but I'm sure it works just the same)
2 teaspoons each of the following: kosher salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 bay leaves
2 cups chicken or beef broth
What you'll do:
Wash the pork shoulder and pat it dry with paper towels. Combine all the spices except the bay leaves in a little bowl, then carefully rub the spice mixture onto the pork shoulder, coating it completely. Place the bay leaves and any leftover spices in the bottom of a crockpot, put the pork shoulder on top, then carefully add the broth, being sure not to rinse the spice mixture off of the meat. Cook on low setting for 5-7 hours, or all day. Halfway through use a pair of tongs to turn the meat.
Once the meat is cooked and tender transfer it to a platter and use a couple of forks to completely shred it. Use the cooking liquid to moisten the meat as necessary. If you're extra fancy you can also replace about a cup of the water in your sauce with a cup of the cooking liquid from the meat. You're ready to begin assembling your enchiladas!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a ladle, spoon enough enchilada sauce into a cake or lasagna pan to evenly coat the bottom of the pan. Take a tortilla and spoon some of the shredded meat into it, then ladle some sauce over the filling, maybe about 3-4 tablespoons worth. Roll the tortilla up and place in the pan. Do this until your pan is full of filled enchiladas and you have no meat left over. Pour the remaining sauce over the top and finish with 3-4 handfuls of the shredded cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Pity some fools.