Enchiladas with Mole Sauce

Homemade enchiladas are a new favorite on the menu around here.  We have made them with pork shoulder, ground beef, ground bison, and shredded chicken.  You need to make the Mole sauce first, but you should have enough for 2 different meals.  Keep the leftover sauce in the fridge until you are ready to make another batch.

Pork Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 lb. pork shoulder
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 batch mole sauce (recipe follows)
  • 1 batch enchilada sauce (recipe follows)
  • 10-12 Tortillas, I prefer flour, but corn may be used
  • shredded Mexican style cheese
Directions
Place pork shoulder in crockpot, cover with mole sauce and chicken stock.  Let cook as long as you can.  When ready, shred pork, mixing in the sauce and juices.  Remove any large chunks of fat and or bone.  
Spray baking dish with non stick spray.  Fill tortillas with meat and place in pan, seam side down.  Cover with enchilada sauce and cheese.  Bake at 350° until cheese is browned.
Ground Beef or Bison Enchiladas

Brown ground meat in skillet, adding mole sauce once meat is cooked.  Continue with above recipe.


Mole Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half- for more heat leave the seed in, for less heat, remove them
  • 2 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 ripe plantain, cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Water if necessary
Directions
On a roasting pan, drizzle peppers and tomatoes with oil and roast in a 375° oven until slightly charred, turning once.  Remove from oven and let cool.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the chopping blade, process all ingredients until smooth.  Add water to adjust consistency.

Enchilada Sauce

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder (more as desired)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 10 oz tomato paste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chicken stock

    Directions
    Heat oil in a saucepan until hot, add in flour, stirring constantly until thickened.  Add chili powder, tomato paste, oregano, cumin, and salt, stirring to heat thoroughly.  Slowly add in stock, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes, adding additional stock if needed.


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    Pot Roast

    Pot Roast is one of those meals and fills you up and warms you from the inside out.  This is a staple in our house using venison, but the freezer is empty so I had to visit the butcher counter for some grass bed beef.

    Traditional Yankee Pot Roast
    adapted from Cooking Light Complete Cookbook

    Ingredients

    • 2 tsp olive oil
    • 1 (2 pound) boneless beef roast or venison roast
    • 1 tbsp kosher salt
    • 1 tbsp freshly ground pepper
    • 1 tbsp rosemary
    • 1 dried bay leaf
    • 2 cups beef broth
    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 pound carrots, cut into 1 inch rounds
    • 1 pound small potatoes, halved

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 300.
    2. Using a spice grinder, grind rosemary, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Rub mixture all over roast.
    3. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add roast to pan, browning on all sides. Combine broth, ketchup, and Worcestershire; pour over roast. Add tomato, bring to a simmer.
    4. Add carrots and potatoes, cover and bake at 300 for 1 hour or until tender.

    Meatloaf

    I never knew I was a fan of meatloaf until I made this recipe.  We all know I love Italian food and this tastes like meatballs.  Served alongside some smashed potatoes, this is a dish straight up my alley!

    RECIPE: Meatloaf adapted from How to Cook Everything


    Ingredients

    • 2 slices day old bread (or lightly toasted bread) processed in food processor until crumbs
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1.5-2 pounds ground meats (while a mixture would be nice, I’m still working on using up the venison, this was a great place for it! I cut the venison with 4 slices of thick bacon when I ground it)
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 medium carrots, minced
    • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
    • kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
    • 1 can plain tomato sauce

    Directions

    1. Heat the oven to 350. 
    2. Mix bread crumbs and milk and let rest for 5 minutes. (Store bought bread crumbs can be substituted, just skip the milk soak.) 
    3. Combine all ingredients except sauce and shape into a loaf. 
    4. Place in a baking dish coated with olive oil and pour sauce over loaf. 
    5. Bake for 45-60 minutes, basting occasionally with the sauce.

    Bolognese Sauce- Quick and Easy

    One of my friend’s has been raving about Barefoot Contessa’s new book How Easy is That.  I decided to give it a try when another friend came for dinner.  This simple, fast bolognese didn’t disappoint!    I can’t imagine I’ll ever slave for hours over the stove again to make a hearty meat sauce!
    I’ve served this over homemade spinach egg pasta and gnocchi.
    Weeknight Bolognese
    Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?
    •2 tbsp olive oil
    •1 pound ground meat (I’ve used bison & beef)
    •1 tbsp dried oregano (or a bunch of fresh- can you ever have too many fresh herbs?)
    •¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    •1 ¼ cups dry red wine, divided
    •1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
    •2 tbsp tomato paste
    •2 tsp salt
    •1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    •¼ tsp ground nutmeg
    •¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
    •¼ cup heavy cream
    •½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
    Directions
    1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground meet and cook, crumbling the meat until the meat is no longer pink and has started to brown.
    2. Add oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.
    3. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.
    4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and pepper, stirring until combined.
    5.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
    6. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.

    Bison Vegetable Meatloaf

    Bison Vegetable Meatloaf
    Adapted from Bobby Flay

    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large zucchini, finely diced
    2 red bell pepper, finely diced
    2 large carrots, finely diced
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh herbs- thyme, margoram, basil, oregano
    1 pound ground bison
    1 pound ground organic beef
    1 cup panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
    1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan
    1 cup tomato sauce, divided
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

    Heat the oil in a large saute pan over high heat. Add the zucchini, peppers, carrots, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook until almost soft, 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Whisk together the eggs and herbs in a large bowl. Add the meat, bread crumbs, cheese, 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, and the cooled vegetables and mix until just combined.

    Mold the meatloaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Top loaf with remaining tomato sauce. Bake the meatloaf for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

    Lasagna with Homemade Spinach Egg Pasta!

    Lasagne of Emilia-Romagna
    (Serves 8 to 10 as a first course, 6 to 8 as a main dish)
    Preparation Time: 15 minutes to assemble and 40 minutes cooking time
    10 quarts (9 litres) salted water
    1 recipe Spinach Pasta cut for lasagna (recipe follows)
    1 recipe Bechamel Sauce (recipe follows)
    1 recipe Country Style Ragu (recipe follows)
    1 cup (4 ounces/125g) freshly grated ParmigianoReggiano

    Working Ahead:The ragu and the béchamel sauce can be made up to three days ahead. The ragu can also be frozen for up to one month. The pasta can be rolled out, cut and dried up to 24 hours before cooking. The assembled lasagne can wait at room temperature about 1 hour before baking. Do not refrigerate it before baking, as the topping of béchamel and cheese will overcook by the time the center is hot.

    Assembling the Ingredients:Have all the sauces, rewarmed gently over a medium heat, and the pasta at hand. Have a large perforated skimmer and a large bowl of cold water next to the stove. Spread a double thickness of paper towels over a large counter space. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit Oil or butter a 3 quart shallow baking dish.

    Cooking the Pasta:Bring the salted water to a boil. Drop about four pieces of pasta in the water at a time. Cook about 2 minutes. If you are using dried pasta, cook about 4 minutes, taste, and cook longer if necessary. The pasta will continue cooking during baking, so make sure it is only barely tender. Lift the lasagne from the water with a skimmer, drain, and then slip into the bowl of cold water to stop cooking. When cool, lift out and dry on the paper towels. Repeat until all the pasta is cooked.

    Assembling the Lasagne: Spread a thin layer of béchamel over the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange a layer of about four overlapping sheets of pasta over the béchamel. Spread a thin layer of béchamel (about 3 or 4 spoonfuls) over the pasta, and then an equally thin layer of the ragu. Sprinkle with about 1&1/2 tablespoons of the béchamel and about 1/3 cup of the cheese. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used, finishing with béchamel sauce and topping with a generous dusting of cheese.

    Baking and Serving the Lasagne:Cover the baking dish lightly with foil, taking care not to let it touch the top of the lasagne. Bake 40 minutes, or until almost heated through. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, or until hot in the center (test by inserting a knife – if it comes out very warm, the dish is ready). Take care not to brown the cheese topping. It should be melted, creamy looking and barely tinged with a little gold. Turn off the oven, leave the door ajar and let the lasagne rest for about 10 minutes. Then serve. This is not a solid lasagne, but a moist one that slips a bit when it is cut and served.

    Spinach Egg Pasta (Pasta Verde)
    Preparation: 45 minutes
    Makes enough for 6 to 8 first course servings or 4 to 6 main course servings, equivalent to 1 pound (450g) dried boxed pasta.
    2 jumbo eggs (2 ounces/60g or more each)
    10 ounces (300g) fresh spinach, rinsed dry or 6 ounces (170g) frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
    3&1/2 cups (14 ounces/400g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour (organic stone ground preferred)
    Using food processor with chopping blade, chop spinach. Add eggs, pulsing until well mixed. Slowly add flour, pulsing until ingredients are well integrated and dough ball forms, you may need to add more flour, but do it slowly! Turn dough out lightly floured surface, shaping into a ball. Cover with a rounded bowl and let rest 30 minutes. Divide dough into 4 equal portions, keeping the reserved portions covered with the bowl while working. Using Pasta Machine according to manufacturer’s directions, knead rounded disks of dough until satiny, dusting with flour as needed. Run dough through pasta machine settings, one-by-one, dusting with flour as needed until you have very thin sheets of dough. Cut sheets into desire baking dish size length and let rest while working the remainder of the dough. Freeze unused dough for a later purpose.

    Bechamel
    Preparation Time: 15 minutes
    4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) unsalted butter
    4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60g) all purpose unbleached (plain) flour, organic stone ground preferred
    2&2/3 cups (approx 570ml) milk
    Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    Freshly grated nutmeg to taste

    Using a medium-sized saucepan, melt the butter over low to medium heat. Sift over the flour, whisk until smooth, and then stir (without stopping) for about 3 minutes. Whisk in the milk a little at a time and keep the mixture smooth. Bring to a slow simmer, and stir 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt, pepper, and a hint of nutmeg.

    Country Style Ragu’ (Ragu alla Contadina)Ingredient Preparation Time: 30 minutes and Cooking time: 2 hours
    Makes enough sauce for 1 recipe fresh pasta or 1 pound dried pasta
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
    1 medium onion, minced
    1 medium stalk celery with leaves, minced
    1 small carrot, minced
    4 ounces ground veal
    4 ounces ground pork
    8 ounces ground beef
    1 ounce thinly sliced Prosciutto di Parma
    2/3 cup (5 ounces) dry red wine
    1 &1/2 cups (12 ounces) chicken or beef stock (homemade if possible)
    2 cups (16 ounces) milk
    1 small can plum tomatoes, drained
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    Working Ahead:The ragu can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. It also freezes well for up to 1 month. Skim the fat from the ragu’ before using it.
    Browning the Ragu Base:Heat the olive oil in a 12 inch skillet (frying pan) over medium-high heat. Have a large saucepan handy to use once browning is complete. Add the pancetta and minced vegetables and sauté, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, 10 minutes, or until the onions barely begin to color. Coarsely grind all the meats together, including the prosciutto, in a food processor or meat grinder. Stir into the pan and slowly brown over medium heat. First the meats will give off a liquid and turn dull grey but, as the liquid evaporates, browning will begin. Stir often, scooping under the meats with the wooden spatula. Protect the brown glaze forming on the bottom of the pan by turning the heat down. Cook 15 minutes, or until the meats are a deep brown. Turn the contents of the skillet into a strainer and shake out the fat. Turn them into the saucepan and set over medium heat.
    Reducing and Simmering: Add the wine to the skillet, lowering the heat so the sauce bubbles quietly. Stir occasionally until the wine has reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Scrape up the brown glaze as the wine bubbles. Then pour the reduced wine into the saucepan and set the skillet aside.
    Stir ½ cup stock into the saucepan and let it bubble slowly, 10 minutes, or until totally evaporated. Repeat with another ½ cup stock. Stir in the last 1/2 cup stock along with the milk. Adjust heat so the liquid bubbles very slowly. Partially cover the pot, and cook 1 hour. Stir frequently to check for sticking.
    Add the tomatoes, crushing them as they go into the pot. Cook uncovered, at a very slow bubble for another 45 minutes, or until the sauce resembles a thick, meaty stew. Season with salt and pepper.

    Meatballs

    I like to make meatballs and store them in the freezer for a quick dinner. Since I couldn’t cook last night, hubby was in charge of dinner. He made Spaghetti & Meatballs using my frozen meatballs, Trader Joe’s Tomato Basil Marinara, & Giuseppes’ Basil Whole Wheat Angel Hair. It was a delicious, comfort food dinner that was just what the doctor ordered! Here’s the recipe for my make ahead meatballs.

    Meatballs
    1 lb ground beef, bison, or venison
    1/2 lb pancetta (prosciutto works in a pinch!)
    1/3 cup bread crumbs
    1 clove garlic, minced (add more if you like, my hubby doesn’t like garlic!)
    2 eggs, lightly beaten
    3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
    3 tbsp Romano cheese
    3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
    3 tbsp fresh basil, minced
    salt & pepper to taste

    Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Using a 1 inch scoop, shape into balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover prepared cookie sheet with foil and place in freezer for a few hours until frozen. Store meatballs in freezer safe bag until ready to use.

    Cooking directions
    Pour about a half inch olive oil in a baking dish and place meatballs in dish, turning to coat. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until browned. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels, and serve with your favorite pasta sauce.

    These are also excellent meatballs for a Meatball Sub.