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Enchiladas are a great dish for your family or a crowd. Beef often takes a backseat to chicken, but you have so many options, whether it's ground beef, a shredded roast or steak strips. All are bathed in a rich red sauce and loaded with cheese. So perfect when they come out of the oven, bubbling over with a Monterey Jack and Cheddar cheese overload.
The word enchiladas means "seasoned with chile peppers" or "filled with chile." Historical archives support the fact that whole fish were among the first ingredients to receive a tortilla wrapping. Following these pre-Columbian times, of course, the enchilada continued to evolve in many directions with all manner of fillings and sauce treatments.
You can take the easy route with beef enchiladas, using ground beef and a canned sauce. When you want something a little more special, though, a homemade sauce makes a big difference. That's where ranchero comes into play. Technically, it's a chunkier sort with more emphasis on onion flavoring and less on tomato. Huevos Rancheros wouldn't exist without its signature topping, and it's tasty as a thicker salsa as well. I've gone for a blending of tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions and jalapenos. Starting with a roux also helps build the flavors to a wonderful tipping point when the sauce bakes in and around the beef-filled corn tortillas.
Note: I spray the tortillas, then heat them in a skillet until softened. Many recipes state you should then dip them in the sauce before rolling. This can make them soggy, so I choose to just fill and then smother.
Beef Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce
12 corn tortillas
4 steak cutlets, seasoned with chili powder and black pepper, then baked in foil until done (about 1 hour)
3 cups shredded cheese (half Monterey Jack and half cheddar); divided use
2 large tomatoes
2 jalapenos, diced
1 medium onion, diced
¼ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons flour
3 cups chicken broth
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste
Boil tomatoes until soft and skin peels away; remove, let cool and chop.
Saute onions and jalapenos in a little oil in a skillet; set aside.
In saucepan, add oil, heat, and flour to create a roux.
Slowly add in warmed chicken broth until it begins to thicken.
Add tomato sauce, garlic, cumin, black pepper, tomatoes, peppers, and onion.
Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
Add a layer of sauce in a lightly coated 10x14 baking dish.
To prepare enchiladas:
Spray each tortilla and heat lightly in skillet (spraying helps prevent sogginess).
Stack on a plate and keep covered until ready to fill.
Layer in beef strips (or shredded beef or ground beef), along with the chunky sauce pieces (use a slotted spoon), and a sprinkling of shredded cheeses.
Roll up each tortilla and add to the baking dish, packing in tightly.
Pour remaining sauce over tops and around sides.
Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
Bake about 30-40 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until top is bubbly and browning.
Serve immediately with sides and freeze remainder if desired.
Other recipes by Cindy:
Grilled Shrimp Tex-Mex Tapas
Chiles Rellenos de Elote
Taquitos with a Twist
Muffin Tin Tacos
Arroz Rojo with Portobellos
Sopa de Elote (Corn Chowder)
Steak and Chorizo Burrito
Tex-Mex Breakfast Migas
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