By Michael Pendley
Mention the word “enchiladas” in most of the country and most folks will picture rolled tortillas stuffed with a meaty filling and covered in sauce and cheese. For those in parts of west Texas, New Mexico and Northern Mexico, though, it’s stacked enchiladas that come to mind.
Stacked enchiladas feature corn tortillas dipped in a red chili sauce and layered with a spicy meat and cheese mixture. Ground venison is the perfect filling for this dish, which is quick and easy to put together on a busy night. You can make the sauce up to a few days in advance, just refrigerate it until ready to use and reheat in a wide, shallow pan on the stove top when you are ready to dip your tortillas.
For the Sauce
5 to 6 dried New Mexico red chili pods
4 to 5 cups water
1 bay leaf
½-cup chicken stock
¼- to ½-teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon flour
½-teaspoon ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons oil
For the Stacked Tortillas
10 to 15 corn tortillas
1 pound ground venison
½ a yellow onion, diced
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
½-teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
Start by making the sauce. Cut the tops off the dried peppers and shake out as many of the seeds as possible.
Add the pods to a saucepan and add the water and bay leaf. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes until the peppers are soft. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
Scoop out the peppers with a slotted spoon and place into a blender. Add the chicken stock and blend to a smooth paste.
Add the oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add the flour and stir for five to seven minutes until the flour has turned light brown. Pour in the blended peppers and bring the mixture to a boil. Add the cumin, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Either refrigerate the sauce if you plan to use it later or reduce the heat and hold the sauce warm if making the dish immediately.
After making the sauce, brown the venison and diced onion over medium-high heat until the venison is cooked through. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder and cumin as the meat cooks.
To assemble the enchiladas, dip a corn tortilla in the sauce, giving it a few seconds to soak.
Place the tortilla on a plate and sprinkle with a bit of the meat mixture and some shredded cheese.
Dip a second tortilla, place it over the meat and cheese on the first, then repeat the toppings. Continue to stack tortillas, meat and cheese until you have four to five layers. Repeat until you have a stack for each serving.
Top each stack with sour cream and serve with rice and beans for a complete meal.
Try Out More Recipes with NSSF’s Game Meat Cooking Series
Where hunter and classically trained chef Georgia Pellegrini shares recipes from her book, “Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time.”