Daily Life, Food

Twelve Dates of Christmas | Red & Green Pork Enchiladas

Aaron and I had our first festive date night of the season Friday night! Sometimes my idea of a fun time is cooking a billion different recipes at the same time after we get home from work around 6 PM, forcing us to have dinner at 8:30 at night. Yep, this sometimes happens, but bless my wonderful husband, he still loves me and my food just as much as if we’d started eating at a reasonable time.
Whatta guy.
Aaron’s family has a Christmas tradition of making red and green enchiladas for Christmas, and as we both hail from New Mexico and Arizona, I loved the idea of continuing the tradition in our own family! Let get this disclaimer out there first: my recipe is not meant in any way to replace my wonderful mother-in-law’s recipe, because, well, that would just be impossible. This holiday season, I am so excited to help make her classic recipe, and I can’t wait to learn some tricks and tips to improve my own! But as Aaron so sweetly told me, we’re making our own family tradition with our own recipes, not intending them to be one and the same. So here it is, my first attempt at red and green enchiladas.
This is a time consuming recipe, but it could be easily mediated by making the sauce(s) the day before or cooking the meat earlier in the week. Every aspect of this recipe can be made in advance, so don’t let it intimidate you! Also, there look like a lot of ingredients, but 80% of the ingredients are spices, which you probably already have in your kitchen pantry. And boy are the spices important. They bring such a depth to each one of these recipes! This is also my first encounter with tomatillos, and I’m kind of obsessed with them. They’re so cute and little! I digress.
Aaron loves red chili but I prefer green chili (a true New Mexican), so this is the perfect recipe for both of us! A mix of both of our loves. What a tasty, perfect compromise.
Red & Green Pork Enchiladas
Yield: 4–6 servingsPlease don’t feel the need to make every part of this meal. Go easy on yourself and try just one of the sauces, if you’d like, or try the pork with a store bought green enchilada sauce. Or make them all. Go crazy! You know I’ll support that.

Chipotle Pork:
1 lb. pork tenderloin, sliced thin
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 cup thinly sliced red onions
Green Enchilada Sauce:
2–3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, minced
5–5 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers
1–2 jalapenos, seeded and membranes removed if desired
1 1/2 lb. tomatillos, husked and quartered or halved
1/2 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 cups chicken broth (or beef if you can’t eat chicken)
2–3 Tablespoons sugar (optional, and depending on how sweet you like it. If you want a Cafe Rio style, go for more sugar.)

Red Enchilada Sauce:
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tablespoons finely grated onion
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 cups tomato puree
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, decrease/increase depending on how hot you like it)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

For Preparation:
Monterey jack or pepperjack cheese, shredded
Sour cream


It’s best to make the sauce or sauces first because they require simmering time. The pork is pretty fast to throw together, so make that right before you’re ready to put it in the oven.

Green Enchilada Sauce:

  1. In a large saucepan or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until tender and fragrant.
  2. While the onions are sauteeing, combine the tomatillos, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and cilantro in your blender. Process until smooth. Note that you might need to add a little broth to make it easier to blend, or alternatively, you can blend everything in batches.
  3. Pour the tomatillo mixture over the onions and garlic and add the broth, salt, pepper, and cumin. Simmer 15 minutes to an hour, depending on how thick you want it. A good way to make the sauce thicken faster is to turn the heat on high and let it boil uncovered.
Red Enchilada Sauce:
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add in garlic and onion and saute for 2 minutes. Whisk in flour until well blended. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a gentle boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer 20 minutes.
Chipotle Pork:
  1. Combine thinly sliced pork, lime zest, lime juice, oregano, brown sugar, chipotle chili powder, garlic, and salt. Set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add onions and sauté for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Remove from pan and set aside. Add 2 more teaspoons olive oil to the pan and add pork mixture. Sauté for 3–4 minutes or until no longer pink. Add pork to onions.
To prepare enchiladas:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 9×13 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Next step is to warm up the tortillas, so they are warm and pliable. Take a stack of tortillas and cover them with a damp paper towel and microwave for about 30–45 seconds until warm.
  3. Fill each tortilla with pork, shredded cheese, and some enchilada sauce. Fold in the edges, and place the enchilada seam-side down in the pan. Top with more enchilada sauce and cheese. If you are making 2 different kinds of enchilada sauce, alternate using the different enchilada sauces.
  4. Cook in the oven for about 10 minutes until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are more crispy. Let the enchiladas cool for a few minutes, and then serve with sour cream if you’d like!
Recipe Sources: Red Enchilada Sauce from Cooking Classy. Green Enchilada Sauce from Our Best Bites. Chipotle Pork from Our Best Bites.

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