Recipe by JaneLi
I am fortunate to get a supply of ground elk meat every winter from my father in-law, who is an avid hunter, and so thought I'd share a favorite recipe. You can substitute beef, pork, venison, chicken, or any other ground meat -- but the richness of the elk seems to go well with the smoky spiciness of the seasonings. Elk is very lean, full of protein, and organic...it's also yummy. :-) The sauce is a tangy, verde (green) style sauce, but feel free to use bottled or canned sauce, either green or red, if you want to cut down on the prep time.
Top Review by Dr. Jenny
This recipe is very nice. A great introduction for us to elk meat. The only changes I made was to use a 1/4 cup of fresh jalapenos from my garden and we accidentally forgot the chipotle pepper. We tried to make up for it by sprinking dried chipotle chili pepper on the top of our enchiladas. This was a great way for me to also use up an abundance of tomatillos that I had in the garden at the same time. Thanks for posting this recipe. We enjoyed this twist on the traditional enchilada.
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon bacon fat
- 1 lb ground elk (or beef, or pork, or turkey, or chicken)
- 1⁄4 cup canned jalapeno pepper, chopped
- 1⁄2 lime
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 28 ounces fresh tomatillos (or 26 oz can)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 chipotle pepper (canned, stem removed)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro (or 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1⁄2 lime
- 18 small corn tortillas
- 1⁄2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
Directions See How It's Made
- For the filling, mix together 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper, paprika, oregano, and garlic in a small bowl, and set aside. Heat the bacon fat or oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Add meat, sprinkling with the remaining salt, and continue cooking over medium heat, until about medium doneness (there should be a little pink showing on red meat.
- Sprinkle the spice mixture over the meat, and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Add the jalapenos, and cook another couple of minutes until the meat is thoroughly done. Check for seasoning, and add a little more salt or pepper if needed. Squeeze 1/2 lime over the top, give it a stir, and set aside.
- For the sauce, if you are using fresh tomatillos, remove the wrappers and simmer in the stock, in a medium saucepan, until they turn from bright to drab green. If you are using canned, drain and add to broth in the saucepan. Heat until warmed through.
- In a separate skillet, saute the onions and garlic in the oil until onions are soft -- about 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat. Remove the tomatillos from the broth (take off the stems if they're still attached) and put into a food processor, along with the chipotle pepper and onion mixture. Puree until almost smooth. Return to the skillet over medium-low heat, and whisk in the broth. After it gets bubbly, simmer for about 10 minutes, adding salt, cilantro, and juice from 1/2 lime in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
- To assemble the enchiladas, dip a tortilla into the sauce for 20-30 seconds, to soften it. Place tortilla on a plate, and put a heaping spoonful of the filling in the middle (meanwhile, put another tortilla in the sauce). Roll the tortilla around the filling, and place, seam side down, into a greased 9x13 baking dish. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas and filling, arranging them in rows in the pan, however you can fit them inches If you have any filling left over, you can sprinkle it over the top of the enchiladas. Pour the rest of the sauce over the whole thing, and then sprinkle with the grated cheese. At this point you can refrigerate them overnight or until you're ready to cook them, or move them directly to the oven.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (35 min if chilled) or until throroughly heated through and cheese is bubbly. I like to serve these with a dollop of sour cream on top, alongside a green salad + rice and beans. They also freeze well after cooking, and can be re-heated, loosely covered, in the microwave. A little labor-intensive, but worth the wait. Hope you enjoy them!