Connie talks you through her grandmother’s recipe, just like when she got on the phone with Grandma Connie the first time she ever cooked it.
Ok, first you’re gonna slow-cook a pork butt. I find a nice big one, like 5 lbs, and cut it into about four pieces. I make sure it’s very dry, then salt it all over and brown it in a big dutch oven with a little corn oil in it. Take it out, set it aside, pour out the oil, then put the browned pork back in there. I love braising cuz it’s so forgiving! I usually use a can or two of light beer, like Tecate, and a little pork or chicken stock—just enough liquid until the pork is almost covered. I’ll add a couple onions cut in half, a big handful of bay leaves (I LOVE bay leaves), a whole head of garlic, smashed, whole cumin seeds, and black pepper. Then I stick it in a 225° F oven and cook for about 6 hours.
While that’s cooking I make the sauce. If you’re crunched for time you can doctor up a jar of Herdez Chile Verde, but if you wanna do it scratch, you do something like this:
Dry roast a mix of green peppers. I use maybe 5 or 6 poblanos or Anaheims, 3 jalapeños, and 1 serrano. I let them sit on top of my gas range, flipping them over until they’re all the way charred—like pure black. Everyone has their tricks for taking off the skin but I find it easy enough to just run them under warm water and use my fingers. Watch out for cuts! Take the seeds out, give them a rough chop, and set aside.
Then the tomatillos! 8? 10? Maybe 12? I dunno. I salt a big pot of water and set it to boil. While it boils, I peel the husks off and rinse off the sticky stuff with hot water. You’re going to be blanching them to remove their skins. Lots of good vids of that on the Internet!
I peel the tomatillos then give those a rough chop, too.
We’re still prepping salsa ingredients. Hopefully I haven’t lost you yet! I chop up a whole onion and a bunch of garlic cloves and saute those in a little corn oil til they’re nice and soft and just getting brown. Then I put the sauteed onion/garlic, the tomatillos, the peppers, a whole bunch of cilantro (rinsed, stems on), and the juice of 2 or 3 limes into a blender. Then I wait! Because I’m gonna add the braising liquid to the sauce.
When the pork is super tender, pulls apart with a fork, I take that out of the oven and pour about a cup and a half of the braising liquid into the blender with the peppers/tomatillos/cilantro. Pulse it up! This usually has to happen in 2 or 3 batches.
Haha, y’all this recipe is involved, I’m realizing. Are you bored yet?
K so then you have a blended salsa verde. Pour it into a heavy bottomed pot and bring it to a slow and steady simmer. Taste it—does it need salt? Pepper? Lime? Make sure it’s properly seasoned and let it chill on the back burner, super low.
Grate the cheese! I love my enchiladas super cheesy so I probably use 1 ½ of the BIG blocks of Monterrey Jack. Set the cheese aside. Dice up a whole white onion, nice and small and even, then set that aside. Chop or shred your pork, mixing in a little of the braising liquid if you sense that it’s dry. Set that aside!
Turn on your oven. I dunno how hot—I usually go 350° F.
Get your widest pan and fill it about two inches with corn oil. Put it on your far left burner. Turn it on medium heat. Put your simmering salsa on the burner just to the right of it. Keep it simmering. To the right of your far-right burner, set a plate with a paper towel and your rectangular dish. Also set your onions, your meat, and your cheese. Are you ready?
I slip the tortillas, a few at a time, into the hot oil and fry just until they’re crisp at the ends but still floppy. Then I shake off the excess oil back into the oil pan before fully submerging them in the salsa. Once they’re sauced up, I put a handful of pork, a handful of cheese, and a big pinch of raw white onion in each one and roll them up tight. I keep going until they’re all packed in there like sardines, then cover them with more sauce, cover that with more cheese—edge to edge. Then in the oven they go.
I pull them out when everything is sizzly, then serve them topped with more white onion, fresh cilantro, a big dollop of sour cream or crema, so much Tapatio, and an ice cold Modelo with lime. Qué rico, my friends.