These Oaxacan Chocolate Mole Carnitas Enchiladas absolutely WOW everyone who tastes them. They have a deep rich flavor from the mole that is balanced out by the delicious cheese topping. The fresh cilantro, green onion and lime give it freshness and zest. If these enchiladas were a vacation, picture yourself on a beach in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, looking at the ocean, smiling and drinking a margarita.
Sunday & Monday What?
Our subheading says ‘Sunday & Monday Recipes’. You may not know what this means! Our idea of Sunday & Monday Recipes is to give you two recipes that have the same main ingredient (in this case pork carnitas), yet two completely different meal ideas (Pork Carnitas Bowl & Oaxacan Chocolate Mole Carnitas Enchiladas). For example, eat one of these dishes on Sunday (Pork Carnitas Bowl) then use the leftover main ingredient (pork carnitas) to recreate something completely different to eat on Monday (Oaxacan Chocolate Mole Carnitas Enchiladas). Two great meals. Less work. Less Waste. Big Win. Following me?
Tell Me More About These Mole Enchiladas, Please…
For those unfamiliar with mole (pronounced MOE-lay), it may seem like a strange exotic dish beyond your palate. That assumption is DEAD WRONG! This delicacy is the homiest, most delicious, soulful meal ever. The overall flavor is slightly sweet, with an abundance of spiced layers. It is all toned out by delicious and stretchy cheese. The mole contributes a beautiful richness, but nothing overwhelming. In fact, if your taste buds are anything like my family’s, you may eat the entire pan in one sitting.
Who Made Mole?
The truth is, Mole is the perfume of food. With roots dating back to the ancient Aztec civilization, mole is derived from the Nahuatl word for sauce, “mulli.” While most claim mole originated in the Oaxacan region of Mexico, other regions also lay claim. In a nutshell, the Aztecs were industrious traders, merchants traveled, and good food spread… Think of it as the Mesoamerican Silk Road. And in a period of rather lax food hygiene, the sauce “mole” was quite the meat enhancer.
What is Mole?
According to a Food Network Article “Mole is a term used in Mexican cuisine to describe a type of sauce.” They go onto say that this sauce is usually a mixture of nuts or seeds, chili peppers & dried spices. It might also include dried or fresh fruit. The sauce tends to be on the thick side, yet pourable. There are as many variations of mole as there are pasta sauce, with variations changing from region to region and cook to cook. Many moles contain thirty plus ingredients! Lucky for you, our version of an Oaxacan Negro mole uses only 14!
It All Sounds Delicious, But Is the Recipe Complicated?
Nope! It’s so easy an Aztec can do it (not bashing the Aztecs, btw)! Our steps/recipe make this incredibly easy. In fact, you may start frequenting this recipe to enhance a plethora of foods! Regarding the enchiladas: make the mole (10 minutes), lather the tortillas, roll them with meat, line up in a casserole dish, slather with more mole, cheese on top, and bake. Then you can decorate with your choice of lettuce, cabbage, cilantro, tomato, cotija cheese, sour cream (crema), salsa verde, and lime. Plate and indulge!
Tips and Tricks for Making Oaxacan Chocolate Mole Carnitas Enchiladas
Sunday & Monday Tips
- If you only have one cooking day, you can make the carnitas AND Oaxacan Chocolate Mole Carnitas Enchiladas. Cover the enchilada filled casserole dish, refrigerate, and bake before eating (increase covered baking time 10 minutes to ensure everything is fully warmed). Layer on extra toppings after baking (which can all be cut and refrigerated the day before (except avocado (unless doused in lime))). If you want to eat the enchiladas the following week or later, try freezing it. Instructions for that below *
- Here is the Authentic Mexican Carnitas Recipe if you haven’t gotten there yet
Regular Tips and Tricks
- * You can absolutely freeze this dish. Stop before adding cheese! Wrap tightly and freeze. Put them in the refrigerator the night before eating to dethaw and cook covered at 350 for 10 extra minutes to thoroughly heat, top with cheese (from recipe directions) and back in the oven .
- **Canola oil is a great option in this dish and most people have it ready to go in their pantry. Lard is our other option. Many people aren’t familiar with using it and don’t have it in their pantries, but it is absolutely delicious. It’s an incredible form of fat that melds and tones that flavors of the chilies in this dish. It is commonly used as the fat source in this dish and is probably the preferred. We love this one.
- ***We use a mixture of chihuahua cheese and cojita cheese. They are both fairly common in the grocery store and usually easy to find. If you can’t find them though, you can substitute mozzarella for the chihuahua (sprinkle lightly with 1 tsp sea salt) and you can substitute grated parmesan cheese for cojita.
- This dish is an amazing meal for a new mother or friend in need. Many times there aren’t great casseroles that taste THIS delicious and also THIS fresh. It’s an amazing gift to give a meal, and this should be on your regular rotation.
- If you are unfamiliar with the dried ancho chilies in the recipe, they are stored in a clear plastic bag in the Mexican food aisle in most grocery stores. They are very common and usually inexpensive. The flavor of these chilies comes out when they are cooked. We suggest de-seeding them so you get the flavor of the peppers without the heat, but if you love spice, you can keep the seeds in.
- ****Go crazy on the toppings. They add the punch and freshness to this dish. We love any combination or totality of guacamole, sliced cabbage, avocado, lime wedges, pico de Gallo, corn salsa, sliced green onions, sliced jalapeños (great option if you want to add some spice), hot sauce, etc. The list goes on an on. It’s also super delicious with two of our other dishes; Fresh and Easy Mexican Caprese Salad and our Mighty & Healthy Fresco Elote Salad.
- If you don’t have a great Gluten Free Tortilla, try ours! Super simple and extraordinarily delicious. Holy Grail of Corn Tortillas.