Not So Goaty Enchiladas

I go to the farmer’s market every week, mostly for milk and meat. Because I like to make outings efficient, we often go somewhere else after the market, so I have a giant insulated cooler bag that I put all my groceries in to keep things cool for the few hours until we get home. Since I always buy frozen meat, it works pretty nicely. Except for the weeks when I buy a whole chicken and goat meat, and then take a long outing. Everything stays perfectly cold, that’s not the problem, but if we’re out very long the chicken and the goat are partly thawed by the time we get home and I don’t want to put either back into the freezer (freeze thaw freeze thaw=decreased quality). So I leave them both in the fridge and tell myself I will use them both before they go bad.

I do use them both before they get bad, but in case you have not had the good fortune to discover this, goat meat doesn’t age well. Even after just a few days in the fridge it starts to taste…. like a goat. This has happened a few times now. Am I going to learn a lesson here folks? Ever? Just put the burger back in the freezer, stupid, it will be fine. Better a little dry than tasting like a sweaty goat’s ass.

Last night I opened the package of goat burger which had been in the fridge for 4 days to make dinner. Oof. Dang. Well, there’s always spices, right? Lots of garlic, black pepper, thyme, a little sage. I fried it all up, added a pile of homegrown savoy cabbage and brown rice. Dinner! It smelled perfectly promising to me.

My Man took one sniff and said, non-commitaly, “What kind of meat is this?” I know I’ve left it in the fridge too long when he asks what kind of meat it is. Fresh goat meat has no goat smell or flavor at all, just a nice rich real meat flavor. But even I had trouble finishing my meat last night. It was the aftertaste that got you. A little too suggestive of it’s origin.

There I was, with a big pile of meat that nobody except the 4yo wanted to eat (she loved it!) At $8/lb, I was not going to throw it to the chickens. So I followed the lead of traditional food cultures around the world and spiced the shit out of that funky meat. I simmered it in enchilada sauce for 40 minutes. Then I layered it with beans, cheese and tortillas. Voila! Goat, rearranged.


Even if you don’t ever have the musky meat problem, this is a great way to make enchiladas. You can use any kind of leftover cooked meat– roast chicken, pot roast, burger, or fresh meat too of course. If you get stew chunks (usually a good price) you can simmer them in thinned down enchilada sauce for a couple of hours to get some super tender, rockin’ flavored meat. But I find these enchiladas an especially good way to use up the not-quite-full-meal’s-worth of meat we often have leftover.

My enchilada recipe is really more of a style. I don’t know how traditional it is, and I don’t care, it’s very easy. I always use canned sauce, I just have not mastered a homemade sauce that tastes right. I only make these once every few months anyway.

Enchilada Stack Up

Put whatever meat you have in a pot, cover with sauce, then add a little water if you are planning to cook it a long time, or no water if you are just doing a quick cook. Simmer for 10 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your meat.

Here’s the only real key (and the only real work) to these enchiladas: the tortillas must be fried. Use a good half inch of high temp oil, and fry each tortilla for 15-20 seconds on each side. They don’t need to brown, and you don’t want them to get crispy. Just lusciously soft and oily. Drain well over the pan before stacking on a rack. You will want 3-4 tortillas per person, or 9-12 total for a family of four (I used 11). Just to make sure we’re on the same page, they must be corn tortillas, flour tortillas just dissolve into grossness.

When your meat is ready, pour a little of the sauce off into a 7×9 inch baking dish. Layer 3-4 tortillas on the bottom. Check out that photo up there, there is actually four tortillas on top, I ripped one in half and set it ripped side to the edge of the pan. Can you see it under there? Makes for a more even distribution of corny-ness.

Now use a slotted spoon to dredge some meat out of the sauce. Spread half your meat out over the tortillas, add in some black beans if you have them, sprinkle your preferred quantity of cheese on top, then do the whole thing all over again for a total of two layers. Top with the last of the tortillas, then pour the remaining sauce from the meat pot over everything. Sprinkle with some more cheese, cover with foil or parchment, then into a 350F oven. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove cover and cook another 20 or so until bubbly and delicious looking.

Important! Serve with Mexican slaw– shredded cabbage and carrot with garlicky lime mayonnaise dressing– to cut the heavy protein-ness of this meal.

Maaaaa-aaa, maaaa-aaa.


8 thoughts on “Not So Goaty Enchiladas

  1. I have discovered the key to homemade enchilada sauce is to first make annato oil by heating up some annato seeds in vegetable oil. That’s the secret ingredient. It sounds hard but so long as you can find the seeds it is super easy.

  2. Hi Calamity Jane. I’m not a meat eater but those enchiladas look tempting. I reckon I could substitute beans and the kids would love ’em. My understanding about meat is that bacteria grows really quickly on it so unless it’s been de-frosted in the fridge there’s a food safety issue. I’m a bit obsessive about food safety since my sister who’s a dietician started telling me horror stories. And because my husband grosses me out by eating absolutely anything. If he cooks, he looks for the slimiest things in the bottom of the fridge just so there’s no waste.

  3. I make homemade enchilada sauce all the time. Just Tomato paste, chili powder, onion, garlic, chilies if I have them, oil, oregano. I always thought one of the keys was to dip the corn tortillas in the enchilada sauce? In my family, the key is the onions chopped teensy enough.

    Bust speaking of maaaaa– we just got two sheep. The first time we pan fried a little back strap as we were butchering, the smell was amazing, and offensive. I’ve eaten plenty of lamb, lots of different game meat with lots of different flavors, but this was *different*. Folks in my farm ‘hood have various theories: too much adrenaline: I guess one of the sheep was spooked and then my 11 yr old had to shoot her twice, reloading 22 between. Another is feed, maybe the gal was munching something weird? They were once domesticated, gone feral young animals. And the last is the aging time. I ate that only 2 days after killing, I think. We ran out of room in the fridge.

    The other weird thing- We put all the meat in the freezer for grinding up into burger, but then ended up having some of that defrosted in lamb curry last night. I only tasted one piece that was even slightly like the stuff i had that other day….Would those 2 days of freezing / defrosting change the flavor much as faR as aging goes???

    Any ideas?

    1. I should explain little better- the raw meat didnt stink, at all. Hennit was cooking, at first i thought it was the butt bone stinking since it was laying there on the counter a few inches away from my cooking lunch. But it didn’t smell like butcher bowels, it just smelled terrible and Weird. once I was fully convinced the meat wouldn’t hurt me by smelling and tasting like *that*, I was able to force it down, but it was also smothered in ginger, turmeric and lemon.

  4. Heh. I have never had goat meat and I don’t know if I could brave anything that has the potential to be described as funky. The enchiladas sound wonderful with chicken or beef though! Thanks for sharing!

  5. CJ, I’ve been keeping this post in the back of my mind since you wrote it. I recently made beef stock for the first time and it was funk-a-trocious. The whole house smelled for like 3 days. But it gelled up so nice I felt like I had to use it. I made a stew with the stock a few days later, and to my surprise, my husband and 3 yo gobbled it up. But I took one bite and quietly pushed my bowl away and haven’t been able to touch the leftovers. Just too cow-y.

    In any case, I just couldn’t throw it away, so I came back to this post. I strained out the stew beef and veggies, and used the stock/broth as the base to an enchilada sauce. I used the sauce to “spice the shit out of that funky meat,” as you so eloquently suggested and rolled those babies into 12 corn tortillas, doused in cheese and more sauce. Not a trace of funk.

    Thanks for the tip (again!)

    1. daniela! i can’t tell you how happy this makes me. sometimes i write a post that gets very little response and i wonder if i crossed a line, or if folks just didn’t find it useful or interesting or what. after i wrote this one i thought, shit, that was stupid. no one but me has that problem. and it sounds…weird. oh well.
      so, yea! you not only had the problem but used my solution! oh frabjuous day!
      i make and can salmon stock every year back in alaska and it smells very meh. every time i open a jar to use it, i have to remind myself that the proof is in the pudding. and every time, miraculously, once cooked up with the soup it tastes divine! bone broths also often have a weird smell, not like rotten, but like extremely minerally, almost liver-y. and i hate liver.
      so glad i helped save some good food. a true eco-blogger’s highlight.

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