Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Carne Guisada Enchiladas

This is a "recipe" that my brother, Steve, invented. It's a great use of leftover meat and a true "homemade" Tex-Mex dish (heavy on the "Tex")! We call it "Carne Guisada" (which is kind of a Mexican beef tip-type dish), due to lack of better terminology. You can really use any leftover shredded meat - guisada, brisket, carnitas. Whatever you happen to have. Once it's mixed with all of the other ingredients, you will have some mighty fine enchiladas! It's hard to mess this one up!

If you don't have any leftover meat, grab about 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of stew meat and follow the instructions below.

Carne Guisada Enchiladas
by Chris

1/2 cup onion, diced
3-4 cups pre-cooked, shredded meat (any type) OR 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of stew meat, ready to cook
2-3 Tablespoons oil, butter, or other fat (or a combo, your choice), for cooking the onion, warming/cooking the meat
1-2 Tablespoons of "extra" fat, to make a gravy (bacon grease is awesome for this!) Yes, you will need 5+ Tablespoons of various fats. Just don't think about it!
1 32-ounce box/can of chicken broth or stock, your choice (I use unsalted)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tablespoons garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
Miscellaneous seasonings of your choice, to taste, including: 
*Mild Mexican hot sauce (Valentina, Cholula, etc. - NOT Tabasco)
3 cups rice, cooked (your preference - white, brown, etc.)
1/3 cup of Kary's "Original" Roux, which will be used to make approximately 3-4 cups of "brown gravy" when combined as directed below
1 can Ro*Tel (diced tomatoes and green chilies), with half of the juice
2 Tablespoons pickled jalapeños, minced, plus a dash or 2 of juice from the jalapeño jar (to taste)
8 ounces refried beans (1/2 of a 16-ounce can)
15-ounce container of Crema Mexicana (I used "La Vaquita" brand)
8 ounces of Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
9 x 13 baking dish
PAM or other cooking spray
10-count pack of flour tortillas (fajita-sized)
*fresh onion (diced), cilantro, and crumbled queso blanco, to top (optional)

If using stew meat, season it to your liking before browning. I use Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning and garlic powder. You CAN use a little flour to coat if you want, but your gravy will be thicker and have an odd consistency. It will still taste great, but...kinda strange-looking!

1. Heat the 2-3 Tablespoons of oil in a large, deep skillet and add your onions and meat. Cook over moderate heat until onions are soft and meat is browned. (You might have to brown the meat in two batches - if so, add the onions with the second batch or they will burn). If using pre-cooked meat, just heat it through and watch that your onions don't burn.

2. When onions are soft and meat is browned, add about 16 ounces of the stock/broth. This should be just enough to cover the entire skillet of onions and meat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and let onions and meat simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring once or twice (longer if necessary to cook your stew meat).

3. Remove the meat from the skillet to cool. Add about 1/3 cup of Kary's "Original" Roux and an equal amount of stock/broth to the pan sauce. Season with salt and pepper and minced garlic (about 1-2 Tablespoons, to taste). You can also toss in whatever other seasoning that you'd like, as well (I used more "Slap Ya Mama"). And add a little more fat (the "extra" 1-2 Tablespoons listed above). If you have bacon grease, this would be the time to use it! Stir it all up, taste for perfection, and go sit a spell, until the meat has cooled enough to shred.

4. Shred your meat (if necessary), and put the gravy into a container by itself. You will be using it in various steps to come. By the way - I used my Ninja (food processor) to shred my stew meat- BOOOM! Done in 2 minutes.

5. Clean out your skillet and put the shredded meat back in. Add the can of Ro*Tel, with its juice, and the jalapeños, with their juice, along with about 1/2 cup of stock/broth. Mix well, set on low heat, cover, and cook for about 8-10 minutes. Remove the lid, raise heat to medium-low, and add 1/2 cup of roux gravy, the 8 ounces of refried beans (1/2 the can), and hot sauce and cumin, to taste. Let the mixture simmer, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced (5 minutes maximum).

6. Add 1/3 cup crema and 1/3 cup shredded cheese to the meat. Taste and season to your liking.

7. While cooking the meat and Ro*Tel, combine 1/4 cup roux gravy, 1/4 cup crema, a splash of water, and hot sauce (to your taste - no more than a splash or two) in a small container. Microwave for 30 seconds and mix well. Heat longer if needed. This should make a "thin" gravy.

8. In another container, combine the 3 cups rice, 1/2 cup of roux gravy, 1/8 cup stock, and 1/3 cup of shredded cheese. Microwave in 1-minute increments and mix well. Add hot sauce, cumin, and garlic powder, as desired. Also add a bit of water, if needed, to incorporate. Set aside.

Now, to assemble...

9. I did NOT "chilada" the tortillas (heat them in grease), and nobody knew the difference. Just grab 2-3 tortillas at a time, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave for 10-15 seconds. Roll while warm (TOLD ya this was "Tex" Tex-Mex!).

10. Grab your 9 x 13 dish and spray well w/ PAM. Warm your "thin" gravy and coat the bottom of the dish with all of it. Then warm your rice mixture and make a nice even layer of rice on top of the thin gravy.

11. Roll warmed tortillas tightly, using about 1/4- 1/3 cup of meat as filling. You should get 8 side-by-side and 2 to finish out the bottom. There will be leftover filling.

12. Mix 1/2 cup roux gravy, 1/2 cup stock/ broth, 3/4 cup of leftover filling, and 1/3 cup crema. Mix well and pour over enchiladas. Sprinkle lightly with more shredded cheese. At this point, the whole dish can be put into the refrigerator for later cooking.

13. Heat your oven to 325°F and bake the enchiladas for about 25 minutes, until heated through. You might need to cook longer if they have been sitting in the fridge.

14. Turn off the oven, sprinkle diced onions and more shredded cheese on top, and let sit in the hot oven for 5 minutes.

15. Remove and let stand for 5-10 minutes (or more, if desired).

16. Drizzle with crema and top with cilantro and queso blanco to serve.

This recipe makes a lot, keeps well in the fridge, and is very filling. To me, it's worth the extra time just because we can get 3-4 meals out of it. Never an easy task when you live with two grown men!

Also, the leftover meat filling is great for quesadillas, pasta, with eggs and salsa, or over rice. Just add cheese, season to taste, and enjoy! Cheers! - Chris

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