moms and mole enchiladas

Our moms are the bomb.

We’ve already described the beautiful, free-spirit that is Jason’s mom, Rebecca. But I wanted to take some time to talk about my own gorgeous mom, Catherine.

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My mom is the epitome of fun. Our childhood was not what you would describe as easy, so she did what she could to wrap us in the magic of what life had to offer: extreme holiday festivities, excessive toy collections, and somewhat overly ambitious extra-curricular activity schedules. To say she spoiled us is an understatement.

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Her greatest gifts, however, were the intangible ones: Her perspective and encouragement when I wanted to quit piano in the 3rd grade [boy, am I glad she convinced me not to]. Her incredible ability to listen to her children, providing us with a safe space in the midst of even the most difficult circumstances. Her hilarious pension for the silly, which constantly challenges me to shed my frigid, do-gooder exterior and welcome the wild wonders of life lived to the fullest. Her uncanny nursing abilities that have nurtured us back to health more times than we can count, and continue to do so even to this day. Her constant reminder that “hearts of gold” matter most. And, finally, her insistence on family dinner around the table.

We ate dinner together as a family every night we were with our mom. I never thought it was strange until a high school teacher asked my classmates and me if any of us still ate dinner at the kitchen table with our families. Of a classroom of 20 students, only two of raised our hands.

Dinner wasn’t always the easiest hour of our lives [three different teenage personalities probably shouldn’t be in the same room at once], but it was always delicious and slightly competitive. [There was a lot of food stealing and defending of plates.]

Every day, our mom worked long, hard days as a school nurse in the public school system, giving all she had to kids who weren’t her own, only to come home and prepare a full meal featuring main dishes, vegetables, and sides, PLUS a completely different meal for a brother-who-shall-not-be-named [ahem, Andrew] who refused to eat anything besides meat, bread, and ketchup as a kid.

The fact that I can barely cook myself dinner after a long day of at-home work as an adult makes me appreciate my mom’s pension for family dinners that much more. I still have no idea how she did it.

So to honor her strength, resilience, and love for her children, we are sharing her famous Mole Enchilada recipe, which was passed down from her mother to her, and now from her to us.

We ate these all the time growing up, but they were a particular highlight on Christmas Eve. We cherish the Mexican food Christmas Eve tradition so much, that we had her teach us how to make them before we hosted our own version of Christmas last year. We have since recreated them multiple times, as they are great for feeding families and large groups [like a book club!]. They can also be prepped and frozen several days in advance before serving.

So this one’s for mom: We’ve hurt one another, we’ve prayed together, we’ve lifted one another up, and we continued to stay by each other’s sides even when life threw us one too many curve balls. It hasn’t been an easy ride for either one of us, and sometimes we can’t always be in the same room because we are simply way too similar. But you have always been my best friend—the person I go to first, who constantly encourages me, supports me, and has shaped me into the person I am today. For you, and for these enchiladas, I am grateful 🙂

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Mom’s Mole Enchiladas

Ingredients

  • 1 pork butt [boneless or bone-in]
  • 1 cup of water
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 to 5 ounces of mole
  • 36 oz. of pork or chicken broth [mom loves using a cube of chicken bouillon too!]
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large block pepper jack cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella, Mexican, or three-cheese blend [your preference]

Instructions

  1. Rub salt, pepper, and spices over pork butt and place in a Crock Pot with 1 cup of water. Cook on low overnight or during the work day for 8 to 10 hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 200-degrees. Once done, remove pork and reserve juice.
  2. Shred pork, chop onions, and slice pepper jack. Set each aside.
  3. If you are using the pork broth leftover at the bottom of the Crock Pot, skim the fat off the top and place the broth in a large rimmed skillet. Chicken broth or water with chicken bouillon also works.
  4. Add mole to the broth and heat over low-medium heat, stirring to combine. The mole should be substantial – not liquidy but not gravy thick. If too thick, add water. If too thin, cook out the liquid.
  5. Spread a spoonful of mole in the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish before beginning assembly.
  6. To assemble, dip both sides of a tortilla in the mole to coat. Place tortilla in baking dish and fill with pork, onion, and cheeses. Roll tightly. [Yes, you will get your hands dirty.]
  7. Repeat step 6 until pan is full. Be sure to squeeze the enchiladas tight together – there is usually room for one more than you expect!
  8. Top with remaining onion and shredded cheese and bake covered at 375-degrees for 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. [Alternatively, you can freeze it several days in advance, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes prior to serving.]

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