Originated in Mexico, enchiladas are one of the most celebrated culinary creations that have been widely adapted by a variety of cultures. Since it’s an extremely versatile meal, enchiladas can be prepared with a number of different ingredients that most find quite tasty, including elk meat. The enchilada is so popular, that the dish even has its own holiday known as National Enchilada Day celebrated on May 5th.
An enchilada is simply a corn or flour tortilla rolled around meat, cheese or vegetables and topped with a mild or spicy sauce which makes the preparation for this meal complete in just a few simple steps.
For this enchilada recipe, I make a homemade red sauce that delivers a kick with each and every bite. The ‘kick’ comes from the chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce adding a unique combination of smoky flavor with peppery heat. The filling is a simple mixture of onions, red bell pepper and ground elk seasoned with a blend of fragrant spices. Roll the flour tortillas around the filling, cover in the savory sauce, top with cheese, black olives, cilantro and bake until bubbling hot.
Construct these enchiladas for your family and you’ll find yourself celebrating this Mexican inspired meal on more than just one occasion.
Elk Enchiladas with a Spicy Red Sauce
- 1 lb ground elk
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups Colby Jack cheese, shredded
- 8 flour tortillas
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 cup black olives, sliced
- green onions, chopped for topping
Red Enchilada Sauce (yields 2 cups)
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1 tbsp adobo sauce
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- Heat a sauce pan over medium heat and add the oil. Whisk in the flour, seasonings, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce creating a paste like base. Carefully pour in broth whisking the sauce until smooth. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from heat. (Note: you can make this sauce a day ahead and simply refrigerate overnight.)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Heat a skillet over medium heat and add oil, onions and bell pepper cooking for about 5 minutes. Add ground game meat to skillet and cook until browned. Add the seasonings to the meat and stir to combine. Remove from heat.
- Pour a 1/2 cup of sauce on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
- Fill flour tortillas with the meat mixture and a little cheese rolling up to enclose. Place the seam side down and arrange side by side in the baking dish. If you have extra meat remaining add it to the top of the filled tortillas. Pour the red sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining shredded cheese, sliced black olives and cilantro.
- Bake uncovered in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
- Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve immediately.