Carnitas + Cheesy Black Bean Enchiladas

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{ carnitas + cheesy black bean enchiladas }

carnitas + 

cheesy black bean  enchiladas 

{ you’re actually getting two meals…whaaa? }

Keep reading for the world’s best carnitas and, because I’m modest, the world’s best enchiladas. This should actually be two posts. But, I’m moving a little slow this week and consolidation makes total sense here. There are a couple of things happening at my house. First, I’m obsessed with my slow cooker. I want to shove everything in there because it all comes out home-cookin’ savory deliciousness. Second, I’m on a real Mexican food bender. A couple weeks back I posted my slow-cooker citrus tacos. Love them. They’re healthy. But I was completely trying to recreate carnitas in a healthy meal. Which is virtually impossible. Let’s just speak frankly, shall we? Some things can’t be slimmed down and carnitas is one of those things. Point being, the itch had to be scratched. Therefore we have carnitas before us today.

However, this makes A LOT of carnitas. So I had to come up with a second meal with the mounds of meat I had leftover. Enchiladas. Boom. My healthy-eating resolution has been completely shot to hell. Yours?

The enchilada recipe I use is from my sister and I love it. It’s all about this sauce. This sauce should only be described using seductive words. Wait until you take her for a test drive. You’ll be smitten.

My sister can’t recall where she got the recipe and I make the sauce exactly as she told me. So if anyone recognizes the origins of this, please let me know. But beyond the sauce I totally deviate and denigrate the recipe. My sister likes classic shredded chicken and cheese enchiladas and I like to see how much I can shove into each small, little corn tortilla without breaking it.

If I were making these with you, here would be our game plan… On Sunday night we would brown the pork and throw everything in the slow cooker. We would then put the whole shebang in the refrigerator. Monday morning, before work, we would plug in the slow cooker and let this loveliness cook all day. Boom, dinner is done and Monday Taco Night (capitalized like a proper holiday) is happening. After dinner, put together the enchilada sauce and, in another bowl, mix together your enchilada filling. Throw both bowls (covered) into the fridge, grab a vodka rocks and watch your DVR’d The Good Wife. { Total sidebar: but why hasn’t there been a new episode for weeks?? And P.S., another skinny, white lawyer dude will never replace Will Gardner. } Then Tuesday, when you get home from work, quickly fill your enchiladas and pop them in the oven. Double boom. You’re done. Wednesday is leftover night. Pour yourself two vodka rocks (in Mason jars). No tonic or soda. It’s the middle of the week. You need this. Watch Modern Family reruns and put the kids to bed early telling them they look tired and rundown. Silently giggle. Mix another drink.

This recipe is super nostalgic for me as I remember my sister giving it to me over the phone when I was living in China. I still have the original computer paper that I wrote the recipe on that’s smeared with enchilada sauce. It’s actually totally fitting that I’m posting this now as it was what I would make every Chinese New Year. I have zero recollection as to why I wanted to make Mexican food on Chinese New Year. But it was good. Maybe I was homesick and feeling rebellious. I was tricky and complicated back then.

{ carnitas + cheesy black bean enchiladas }

It was difficult to spec-out how many people this would serve. If you’re only eating the carnitas, I would say about 6-8. If you’re eating the carnitas and the enchiladas, then the carnitas would serve 4. The enchiladas will serve about 4-6 people. How’s that?


For the Carnitas

  • 2 ½ to 3 pound boneless pork shoulder
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus a little extra to drizzle on top
  • Salt and pepper to taste, generously
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3 teaspoons poblano chili or jalapeno, seeded, deveined and minced
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • For serving as carnitas tacos: limes, fresh cilantro, warm tortillas, sour cream and salsa

For the Enchiladas

  • 3 tablespoons, plus ½ cup of veggie oil (I’ll explain this more in a bit)
  • A large package of fresh, corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup chili powder (I know this seems like a lot…but it’s legit)
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oregano (try to get the Mexican stuff)
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt to taste…I think I only do about ½ teaspoon (it doesn’t need a ton)
  • 3 cups cheddar cheese, grated, plus 1 cup to sprinkle on top
  • 2 ½ cups carnitas (you could sub in chicken here if you prefer)
  • ½ cup green onions, chopped
  • ½ cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Day One: Carnitas Taco Night

  1. If there are any grotesquely huge chunks of white fat on the meat, cut some of it off. We want the fat, but we don’t want pools of it. Generously season the pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat up about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan (use a Dutch oven or something with a high side to keep the oil from splattering everywhere) over medium-high heat.
  3. Brown all sides of the pork…this should take about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Put the pork in the slow cooker and give an extra little drizzle of vegetable oil.
  5. Sprinkle the chili powder, cayenne and cumin over the pork.
  6. Pour in the chicken stock and sprinkle the chopped poblanos and smashed garlic around the pot. Using tongs, turn the pork over to make sure everything is coated.
  7. At this point you could stop and refrigerate if you’re not ready to cook just yet. Otherwise, set your slow cooker on low and cook for 8 hours. And yes, I mean 8 hours. It will just get better and better as the fat breaks down and the meat starts to fall apart like one big hot mess.
  8. Fast forward: after the 8 hours, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Put the pork and liquid in a heat-safe roasting pan (I’m saying heat-safe since you are going to put it on the stovetop later) and shred it up using two forks.
  10. Put in the oven for 20 minutes or until the meat starts to brown a wee bit.
  11. Once out of the oven, strain the meat (reserving the liquid in the pan) and place the carnitas on a platter.
  12. Pour the orange juice into the pan, place on the stovetop. Cook over a medium-high heat, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any yummy flavor nuggets stuck on the bottom. The sauce should reduce a bit. Do this for about five minutes and you’re done. Pour the sauce over the carnitas.
  13. Serve with warm tortillas, limes (lots!!), fresh cilantro, salsa and sour cream (my daughter would be so sad if this wasn’t there). Make sure you reserve about 2 1/2 cups of carnitas for your enchiladas.

Day Two: Enchilada Night

  1. Get a 9 ½ X 11 casserole dish and spray with nonstick. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. To make the enchilada sauce, heat up 3 tablespoons of oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add the flour and cook for a minute.
  5. Add the chili powder and cook for about 30 seconds. Mix around until a paste forms and you start to smell the yumminess.
  6. Stir in the stock, tomato sauce, oregano and cumin.
  7. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. It should thicken a bit.
  8. Meanwhile, mix together your filling. Here’s the thing with the filling…you can add whatever your heart desires. You can change the meat…add different cheeses…you could add corn…skip the beans…add black olives (my son loves this). Whatever. Make them yours. Mix together the cheese through the cilantro in a bowl. Give it a little salt and pepper. Taste it. How’s it doing? Need anything? Meditate on this a moment.
  9. Now, here’s another departure I take from the original recipe. That ½ cup of oil up there is for the tortillas. Put the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and once it’s hot, you dip the tortillas in there. This does a couple of things…first, it softens your tortillas making them easier to roll. Second, it provides a bit of a barrier to the sauce, so that your enchiladas don’t get soggy. All that said, I will often have the enchilada sauce heated and I will dip my tortillas in there briefly, just enough to warm and soften them, and then I add the filling and roll it. It’s your choice. If you’re looking for the true enchilada experience, then you should use the oil. If dipping your mid-week meal in piping hot oil seems a little too extravagant, than opt for the sauce method. Regardless, if this is your first time dipping and rolling tortillas I have a couple of tips for you. First, be gentle with them. They’re fragile. Second, don’t sweat it if one, two or more break. It happens. Just keeping dipping and rolling and forget about it. Have another drink. You worked all day, this is the last thing you should be worried about.
  10. You’ll put them in a row, the long way down your casserole dish. You’ll have extra room along one side to shove more in. I try to cram as many in as possible…I think they taste better this way.
  11. Once they’re all rolled up, pour about 3/4s of the enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas. Only add the last ¼ if you think there are some dry areas. I always have some extra sauce leftover. You could save it for reheating the enchiladas later.
  12. Sprinkle the last 1 cup of cheddar cheese on top.
  13. Put in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is all melty and bubbly. Serve with sour cream and an extra sprinkle of chopped green onions if you’re feeling it.
  14. Olé.

{ on my mind }

  • I really want to know why there haven’t been any new episodes of The Good Wife? Am I missing something? Will it happen this Sunday? Any intel on this would be greatly appreciated. I’ve started drafting my complaint letter to the head of ABC.
  • Chinese New Year. Love. It’s the one time of year where the wheels literally come off the bus in Beijing (I mean, not literally, but you know…). Everything is normally controlled chaos there (lots of line cutting, ignored traffic lights and horn honking…but these things are to be expected). But CNY, on the other hand, feels like utter anarchy. I love it. The fireworks are insane. Any other holiday spent in Beijing is completely depressing (for me)…but Chinese New Year? You’re at ground zero. The epicenter. I want to do a jiaozi (Chinese dumpling) post pretty soon. Would that interest anyone? They’re my crack.
  • How’s everyone doing with the New Year’s resolution thing? One month in and it feels like time to evaluate. Eating healthy: bombing. Work-wise: staying on point. Sooooo, pretty much business as usual.
  • I made a marshmallow buttercream last Friday and it was INSANE. Can we just pause on that for one minute? Marshmallow Buttercream. It may have been one of my proudest baking achievements. My son has been begging me to make whoopee pies. I’m thinking these two things are going to collide in my kitchen. Soon. In fact, if I can ever get this post done, that’s what’s happening.
  • Any special requests are always welcomed. If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll noticed I don’t put all of my recipes on the blog. If something strikes your fancy drop me a line. I might be surprisingly happy to oblige.
  • My current life is somehow orbiting around sports right now. If you know me, this is funny. My daughter has paused on swimming (sadness), but is starting club volleyball (joy), my son is playing basketball (fun) and anticipating baseball (the jury’s out). And then there’s this big sporting event on Sunday, which I will never understand. I mean literally, I just can’t grasp the game of football (I’m actually being literal here). Yet, I love the idea of eating and drinking in excess on a Sunday. It’s one of the cornerstones of my life. I want to make homemade sausage rolls for said event. Wait, I don’t know if that was enough fanfare…HOMEMADE SAUSAGE ROLLS!! And SouthernFatty has a delicious red pepper sauce thing I’d like to pair with it. Between the whoopee pies, the red pepper thing and my ennui, we’ll reevaluate where we are next week..
  • This is the LONGEST POST EVER. Thanks for hanging in there. Hope it was worth it. Go get yourself another vodka rocks, you deserve it…just sit there and look pretty. It’s all coming together isn’t it? Your meal plan for next week is done. Put on your soft clothes, put those feet up and have another drink. You’re done. Well done.

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Leave a Comment


  • Cheryl Stauffer February 6, 2015 at 3:33 AM

    Okay, carnitas part deux: Had quite a bit of meat left over and decided, two days later, to make the enchiladas. OMG, so amazing. However, I didn’t have any corn tortillas, but I did have flour so I use them, slightly fried and wow. Totally recommend!

    This recipe has been permanently added to my collection, to serve as the main protein and for the enchilada value. Outstanding!!

    • DisplacedHousewife February 6, 2015 at 3:51 AM

      I’m so glad you made them!! I loveeee these enchiladas. That sauce!! Yum yum. And I actually think they are pretty easy to throw together. So happy you loved them!! xo

  • Cheryl Stauffer January 31, 2015 at 8:40 PM

    Made the carnitas, delicious and sooooo tender.

    It was a tiny bit on the spicy side for us, next time I’ll cut back a touch on the cayenne pepper. I may have also used too much jalapêno–just hated to waste it!

    I was too lazy to make the enchiladas, so I served this over rice. It was wonderful, and directions were perfect.

    • DisplacedHousewife January 31, 2015 at 8:50 PM

      Yeah!! Thanks Cheryl. You can also pickle the rest of the jalapeño…that way it wouldn’t go to waste. I should also probably note that I prefer to use the poblano chili because it adds a little heat and lots of flavor…whereas I feel like the jalapeño adds lots of heat and a kick of flavor. I’m glad you liked them!! xo

  • DisplacedHousewife January 29, 2015 at 2:58 PM

    Tequila, yes!! Why didn’t I think of that?

  • Sharon | Cheesy Pennies January 29, 2015 at 7:53 AM

    My favorite enchilada recipe comes from my sister, too! Love the three day plan here, and the vodka breaks, though I’d probably go with tequila myself.

  • DisplacedHousewife January 29, 2015 at 5:26 AM

    Me too! Although of course now that I’m celebrating in the U.S. I’ll probably eat dumplings. #contrary

  • lynn @ the actor's diet January 29, 2015 at 5:11 AM

    I’d LOVE to eat these for Chinese New Year!