Pork Carnitas Enchiladas are a delicious entree for any Cinco de Mayo get-together! Pork simmers in the slow cooker on low all day, then is sautéed with onion and green chiles. Once the filling is complete, roll it up in tortillas with some pepperjack cheese, slather them in spicy enchilada sauce and bake for this spectacular dish!
I don’t know about y’all, but I cannot believe that it’s May, and that Cinco de Mayo is THIS WEEK!
I also cannot believe these April showers persist.
I mean, I’m not going to be the Texan who says she doesn’t like rain. I actually love rain and thunderstorms, and I love that we’ve seen so much of it this last month.
The thing is that they’re just not fun when they startle you awake at 4 a.m. when you haven’t slept well for an entire week because your immune system is limping along because of a freakin’ sinus infection that won’t seem to go away.
Yes, I realize that’s a suuuuuper specific example. Unfortunately, I can confirm that’s what happened this morning.
So while I sip my coffee and brainstorm ways to stay awake this entire day, let’s talk ENCHILADAS.
Did y’all know that carnitas, when translated from Spanish, means “little meats?”
Upon a cursory Google search, I learned this dish originates from the Mexican state of Michoacán. They’re traditionally made by braising or simmering pork in oil or lard until fall-apart delicious.
These enchiladas? They start with the carnitas base, though this pork is not braised/simmered in oil or lard. However, it is slowly cooked in its own juices and fats.
Enchiladas are one of those entrees we absolutely love, but we hardly ever make because they’re more time-consuming than tacos.
The glorious thing about these Pork Carnitas Enchiladas?
You can make them in stages!
Cook the pork in the slow cooker first. Shred. Set aside… for minutes or days. (We actually refrigerated our pork for a day or two before it was enchilada makin’ time.)
Feel free to make the enchilada sauce in advance, too. Freeze it or refrigerate it until it’s enchilada time.
You can even make the enchilada filling and roll them up a day or two before you bake them, covering with plastic wrap in the fridge until it’s go time. You can also freeze the enchiladas, too. (More information on this in the recipe instructions.)
Enchiladas are a little labor of love, but they’re worth the trouble.
And since you can make them in stages, this can be an easy weeknight meal!
Here’s how I made ’em:
- 4.25 lb. bone-in pork shoulder butt roast
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 oz. can diced green chiles, drained
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
- 3 cups pulled pork
- 20 tortillas (corn or flour)
- 8 oz. pepperjack cheese, shredded
- Spicy Enchilada Sauce
- Place the bone-in pork shoulder butt roast in the slow cooker. Season liberally with the taco seasoning.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the pork begins falling apart.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker. Remove any large fat caps. Shred using two forks. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, bell pepper and chiles to the pan. Season with the taco seasoning. Sauté until softened.
- Add the pork to the skillet with the vegetables.
- Cook until the pork crisps up, then remove from the heat.
- When the filling has cooled slightly, begin rolling the enchiladas.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.
- Dollop 2-3 tablespoons of filling into the tortillas. Carefully roll the enchiladas, and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Repeat until all the filling has been used.
- Pour the Spicy Enchilada Sauce over the enchiladas, then transfer them into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Once the enchiladas are slightly crispy on the edges and heated through, serve on individual plates. Enjoy immediately!
Please note that if your pork shoulder is similar to mine and doesn't have a ton of additional fat that needs tossing, you'll have 2-3 cups left of pork AFTER cooking these enchiladas. You can buy a smaller pork shoulder, but I cannot 100% guarantee it will produce enough pulled pork for these enchiladas.
This recipe is freezer friendly. Freeze any leftover enchiladas (or an entire serving) in an aluminum or ceramic baking dish with the sauce frozen separately. Seal the enchiladas with plastic wrap and foil, and it can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to consume, remove the plastic wrap but leave on the foil and transfer directly to a 350°F oven. Bake covered for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven. While the enchiladas bake, defrost the sauce. Then when they come out of the oven after 40, add the enchilada sauce on top of them. Crank the heat up to 375°F. Bake the enchiladas and sauce uncovered for an additional 15 minutes until cooked through.