We love chicken enchiladas but there are times when we have an inexplicable craving for beef. Beef enchiladas satisfy that beef craving perfectly. But, first, some trivia about enchiladas.
Did you know that stuffed tortillas smothered with sauce and cheese is more American than Mexican?
Stuffed tortillas were eaten by the Aztecs long before the word enchilada became associated with that kind of food preparation. The word enchilada itself entered the English-speaking world when it was first mentioned in the United States in 1885. And, based on its description, it was more tourist food than authentic Mexican.
It’s not as if the word enchilada was invented by the Americans. No. Enchilada is Mexican but not the stuffed tortillas that the Aztecs had long been enjoying. Mexican enchilada, it appears, is not stuffed at all but, rather, tortillas simply dipped in sauce.
While the idea of a simple snack of tortillas dipped in sauce intrigues me endlessly, here at home, we have come to love the kind of enchiladas that are smothered with sauce, topped with cheese and baked until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.
Easy Beef Enchiladas
- 5 to 6 cups cooked chopped beef
- ¾ cup chopped bell pepper
- ¾ cup chopped onion
- ¾ teaspoon minced garlic
- 300 to 400 grams grated cheese
- 16 tortillas six-inch flour tortillas were used here
Cook the enchilada sauce
- In a sauce pan, heat the olive oil.
- Add the flour all at once.
- Stir the mixture until smooth and cook for two to three minutes.
- Add the cayenne, chipotle, onion and garlic powders, salt, cumin and dried oregano, and stir until blended.
- Pour in the broth slowly, stirring with the one hand as you pour with the other.
- Cook until the mixture thickens.
- Add the diced tomatoes.
- Plunge in an immersion blender and process until there are no more large pieces.
- Cover the pan, lower the heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the sauce.
Make the enchiladas
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- On a baking tray, spread the tortillas and sprinkle with a little water.
- Heat the tortillas in the oven for a minute to soften them.
- In a bowl, toss the chopped beef, bell pepper, onion and a quarter of the shredded cheese.
- Lay a tortilla flat, spread the filling along the middle, and roll up to seal.
- Repeat until you have used up all the filling or filled up all the tortillas.
- Pour just enough sauce to moisten the bottom of the baking dish (or dishes) where you intend to bake your enchiladas.
- Arrange the stuffed and rolled tortillas in the baking dish with the overlapping sides facing downward, then ladle the strained sauce over them.
- Top with the remaining cheese.
- Bake the beef enchiladas at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese is melted.