It’s really hot outside. And, yet, it’s time to start preparing for deer season. It’s time to fill feeders and fix feeder pens. And check on the game cameras. It’s time to clean out coolers.
For the Deerslayer’s Wife, it’s also time to start thinking about meals that can be packaged up ahead and prepared in a jiffy but still be worthy of the hunter that made them possible.
Enchiladas are great because they can be prepared ahead, frozen, packaged, and served a few at a time depending on how many you need.
The cookie sheet can be placed directly into the freezer for a few hours until the enchiladas are frozen through.
Frozen on a cookie sheet
Easily lifted off
….and labeled to store until needed.
The trick to having fresh (not soggy) tasting enchiladas is to package up the sauce separately, heat it, and pour over the enchiladas before they are heated in the oven or on a bbq pit and served.
Sauce can be made and poured up into smaller jars that can be taken, in a cooler, to the hunting camp. I’ve used canning jars and larger plastic containers with screw-on lids.
I’ve taken several varieties on hunting/camping trips, Venison/Wild Pork Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce, Cheese Enchiladas with Venison Chili con Carne, and Pheasant (or Duck or Chicken) Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce.
This recipe is kind of a variation of a couple of the others. It has all the flavor and cheesy appeal of cheese enchiladas with the extra heartiness of a meat filled enchiladas. Everyone really enjoyed these so I thought I’d share. I always prepare enough to serve as dinner the night I fix it and freeze the rest for an upcoming hunting/camping trip.
1 lb. cooked, shredded venison and/or wild pork (see all day cooking method in “Come and Take It”)
1 tsp.chili powder, comino (cumin) and salt or to taste
enough beef stock and/or drippings from all-day-cooked meat to moisten the mixture
about 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, divided (the more the better, I always say)
a package of corn tortillas (NOT FLOUR)
2-3 Tbsp. bacon grease
3 Tbsp. flour
½ green or red bell pepper, diced, seeds removed
½ onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 10 oz. can tomatoes (with or w/o chilies to taste)
2 tsp. garlic salt
½ cup water
to make enchiladas
In a cast iron skillet, season shredded venison and/or wild pork with chili powder, comino, and salt to taste. Add enough stock or drippings to moisten the meat a little.
In a separate small skillet, heat about a 1/2 inch of cooking oil. When oil is just starting to shimmer, coat one corn tortilla, one side at a time, until tortilla is soft, just a couple of seconds.
I discovered these great rubber-tipped tongs that do not tear the corn tortillas! Priceless!
Lay corn tortilla on a flat surface. Spread with a line of seasoned meat and cheddar cheese.
Roll enchilada and place, seam side down, in a 9×13 baking dish or on a cookie sheet,
Continue this process until you have rolled as many enchiladas as you have meat.
If you want, set aside the number of enchiladas you want to cook for a meal right away.
Then place the rest of the enchiladas in the freezer for several hours until frozen through.
For the sauce
Melt the bacon grease in a cast iron skillet, saute all veggies until translucent.
Add remaining ingredients, stir, and simmer, covered, about 1 hour until tender and cooked down to thick gravy.
Stir periodically to prevent sticking to the pan. Using an emersion blender or regular blender, blend sauce until smooth.
At this point, you can pour what you need over your enchiladas in an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake at 350º for about 30 minutes until bubbling and cheese is melted.
Pour extra sauce into jars to take on your hunting trip.
For a hunting/camping trip, preparing a meal that has as little cleanup as possible is almost always my goal. Multi-packs of small foil pans are readily available at most grocers these days. I have discovered that enough frozen enchiladas (thawed) for a meal can be placed in one of these aluminum baking containers, heated sauce poured over the top, and cheese sprinkled on. Cover and seal the pan with additional foil and place on a bbq pit off to the side of some medium hot coals for about 20 minutes or so depending on how hot the coals are. The pan should be turned a couple of times for even heating. Check the progress. The enchiladas are ready when the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted.