Hello and happy Saturday! Welcome back to Kelly’s Kitchen, I am happy you’re here. Today is May 2nd, it’s my Mom’s birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!). She and my husband are having a virtual, long-distance brisket smoke-off today. We will cover how that goes next week… We are a few days away from Cinco de Mayo. I love Cinco de Mayo. As if I needed any reason to eat too much Mexican food or enjoy a couple margaritas, the occasion of Cinco de Mayo just puts us all on the same page for a day. For me, growing up, Cinco de Mayo meant tamales and piñatas (read: CANDY). This week, my intention was to make tamales for y’all, but you need masa for tamales and much like flour at the grocery store, it seems masa is in high demand. Unable to procure masa, I decided to make an enchilada casserole. Not a typical Mexican dish…but, eh, well, these aren’t typical times. So instead, I’m going to show you how to make an enchilada casserole.
Cinco de Mayo is fervently celebrated in the US and many of us don’t know exactly why. A lot of Americans think it’s Mexico’s Independence Day, but actually it’s the Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla. In 1862, the Mexican military defeated the French forces of Napoleon III.
I pretty much threw this one together like a Mexican lasagne; I loosely based what I did on a recipe from Gimme Some Oven. I used some leftover brisket my husband smoked on the smoker a couple weeks ago. I knew I wanted to use it for something, so I froze a bag of the sliced brisket. Other than that, I used a couple cans of beans I had in the pantry – black beans and chickpeas. A can of corn, corn tortillas and a pre-shredded Mexican cheese blend. The enchilada sauce though, I did make from scratch. You can definitely use store-bought. You’ll need somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 cups.
For the enchilada sauce, Gimme Some Oven has a simple recipe, it’s super easy provided you have chile powder…which I only kind-of have. I have chile powders of all sorts, but strangely, not plain ol’ American chile powder, which is a very mild chile powder (note to self: buy plain ol’ chile powder!). So I improvised with 4 tablespoons of Chipotle chile powder. I offset the heat by adding about a tablespoon of Agave syrup.
I think this modification worked out because my meat was a smoked brisket so the smokiness of the Chipotle powder went well with the smoked meat. It all thickened up just fine, so I don’t think the Agave messed anything up, it just mellowed the spice of the chile powder.
Feel free to experiment with whatever you have (I did, and it all worked out ok!). Just be sure you don’t substitute chile powder with cayenne. Cayenne will make the sauce WAY too hot! I made a double batch of this sauce and I ended up with about ¾ cup leftover, which would be a great sauce or marinade for chicken. Here’s Gimme Some Oven’s recipe for homemade enchilada sauce:
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and get your 9×13 oven safe baking dish (if yours is prone to sticking, spray with a light coat of cooking spray).
Step 2: Dice your onion and bell pepper. Use whatever color you have: red, yellow or white onion; green, yellow, orange or red bell pepper.
Step 3: Open and rinse your beans and corn. I just do it all in a single colander.
Step 4: Dice, shred or cube your protein. Like I mentioned, I am using leftover brisket, but you can use chicken, pork, chorizo, tofu whatever you like – whatever you have. If you’re using meat, just be sure it’s already cooked through.
Step 5: On medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons or so of your olive oil to a large pot or dutch oven. Then add your onion and bell pepper. Cook until just soft.
Step 6: Add your beans, corn and meat. Stir to combine and let cook for about 5 minutes, then add 2-3 cups of your enchilada sauce (add as much or as little as you like, since my sauce is pretty spicy, I kept it to 2 ½ cups). Stir to combine and cook long enough to let your meat warm through. Then remove from heat.
Step 7: Pour about ½ cup of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of your baking dish and tilt your dish to coat the entire bottom with sauce. Add more sauce if needed.
Step 8: Slice your tortillas in half (to fit better in the rectangular dish) and use about 6-7 halves to cover the sauce.
Step 9: Cover the tortilla layer with a layer of your meat and veg mixture.
Step 10: Then, cover the meat and veg layer with a layer of the shredded cheese.
Repeat steps 8-10 three more times, until you reach the top of your baking dish, finishing with another generous pour of sauce and another sprinkling of cheese.
Time to bake! Bake covered at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Then uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbly and browning.
When the top is done to your liking, remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Top with cilantro, pickled jalapeños, or scallions, or olives…whatever you like!
I topped with cilantro and then set out sour cream, homemade pickled onions, hot sauce, limes and avocado.
I also set out chips and homemade pico de gallo. Homemade pico is so easy! Take a tomato and remove the seeds. Then dice it up with onion, jalapeño and garlic in whatever ratio you want or have, add a squeeze of lime and a good pinch of salt, stir and it’s done!
I hope you fix yourself a margarita and have a festive Cinco de Mayo. Give this enchilada casserole a try. It’s definitely a crowd pleaser, and if you don’t have a crowd in your household, the leftovers are delicious and will freeze super well! Thank you for stopping by today, I appreciate all your wonderful support. Don’t forget, you can also find me on facebook and instagram. Thanks so much – I look forward to seeing you again next week! Take care and be well everyone. xo Kelly
is our 40s+ fashion & food contributor. She posts a Daily Look on Tuesdays, writes about Fashion on Thursdays, joins Beth for Fridays with Oscar and shares a new recipe Sunday evenings.
She’s 47, 5’0, and a petite 0/XS.
Kelly also has a food blog called Djalali Cooks, which you can find by clicking the world icon below.