Beef Enchiladas

October 24, 2010

These beef enchiladas have good flavor, but they suffer from what I consider the greatest problem with Mexican food made in this country; texture. After 45 minutes of soaking in a very liquidy sauce, the corn tortillas were fall-apart soggy.

Better than in a restaurant; but still not perfect.

The complete recipe is here. Start by mixing 3 garlic, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons coriander, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Trim the line of gristle which runs down the center of your blade steak (called Top Cut Chuck in my supermarket). Pat the meat dry, season with salt, and brown the meat in a dutch oven for 5-minutes per batch. Set meat aside. Saute 2 onions for 5 minutes, then add garlic/spice mixture and cook for 1 minute. Add 16-oz tomato sauce and 1/2 cup water. Add back meat and any accumulated juices; then simmer for 1-1/2 hours. Strain the meat to separate the sauce (add cilantro and grated Monterrey Jack cheese). Assemble in Pyrex casserole dish, cover with foil and bake at 350-degrees for 25 minutes.  Uncover to brown; bake for another 10 minutes.

Overall, 3-1/2 stars. The flavor is good, but the sauce was a little plain. Surprisingly, even my oldest son (who can be finicky) ate them and gave them 4-stars. The texture was my only real complaint.


  1. When I complained about my soggy tortillas to a Mexican friend, she suggested that I fry the unfilled tortillas briefly in oil. But, not until they are hard. She assured me that I will still be able to roll them without breaking, and that it will be enough to ensure a better texture.
  2. The recipe calls for browning all 1-1/4 pounds of meat in one batch. However, the dutch oven is way too crowded; it’ll just steam. At most, 3/4-pound can be effectively browned at a time. I bought 1.8-lbs which trimmed down to 1-1/2 pounds, so made two batches anyhow.
  3. 6-inch Tortillas were not available. The tortillas in the store are only 5-1/4 inches. Not much difference.
  4. Also I needed 11 tortillas, while the recipe only called for 6. Not a big deal, but I had to microwave them then in 3 batches because I constantly underestimated how many I needed.
  5. The enchiladas didn’t tightly fit into my 14-by-10-inch Pyrex pan.  Next time I may use my smaller 12-by-7-inch Pyrex pan. The main problem was that the sauce burned in the empty space.

Rating: 3-1/2 stars.
Cost: $14.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess? Big mess.
Started: 3:00 pm  Ready:  6:15 pm.

%d bloggers like this: