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Elegant Cakes – Beef Enchiladas
Life Should Be Cake

Beef Enchiladas

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Mexican food is one of my favorite types of food to eat when I’m going out to eat. Italian usually pales in comparison to what I was used to eating at my grandma’s table growing up, sushi and Chinese are typically reserved for takeout, and one can only eat so many sandwiches. I’ve found that it’s very hard to go wrong when going out for Mexican. The meal typically starts off with a big basket of chips and either salsa, queso or guacamole (or all three!), and it only goes up from there. I like to try different dishes and don’t have one go-to choice when getting Mexican, but one that I don’t order nearly enough is enchiladas. I found myself craving them recently, and was in dire need of an awesome, authentic-tasting recipe to make at home. Mission accomplished!

A long, long, long time ago, I was on a fajita/enchilada kick, where I would basically make the filling for chicken fajitas (chicken, onions, peppers, sometimes mushrooms), then roll it up in tortillas and bake it in a very bland, sorry-tasting enchilada sauce. (What was I thinking?!) My tastes have definitely evolved over the years, so that wasn’t going to cut it for me anymore. Once I read this enchilada recipe, I knew it was beyond promising. While the cooking time is lengthy, it doesn’t take much effort and it has a fantastic, authentic flavor. The sauce totally makes it!

My Chief Culinary Consultant and I polished off half of this pan between the two of us during a Sunday afternoon of football-watching, and I think we were both secretly jockeying for leftovers the next day. This recipe has definitely earned itself a spot in my list of favorite go-to recipes, and is absolutely one that I will be making again and again.

If you love Mexican food, you need to have these enchiladas in your rotation!

One year ago: Turtle Cheesecake
Two years ago: Quick & Easy Chicken Pot Pie
Three years ago: Classic Apple Pie
Four years ago: Fig and Almond Cheesecake

Beef Enchiladas

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Wonderfully cheesy, saucy, and mildly spicy beef enchiladas.


3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1¼ pounds boneless chuck steaks, trimmed of fat
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
½ cup water
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded, divided
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded, divided
⅓ cup chopped fresh cilantro
¼ cup chopped canned pickled jalapeños
12 (6-inch) corn tortillas


1. In a small bowl, stir together the garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, sugar and salt.

2. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Sprinkle the meat with salt and cook until browned on both sides, about 6 to 8 minutes. Remove the meat to a plate.

3. Reduce the heat to medium, add the onions to the pot and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic mixture and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce and water and bring to a boil. Return the meat and any accumulated juices to the pot, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the meat is tender and can be broken apart easily, about 1½ hours.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

5. Strain the beef mixture over a medium bowl. Transfer the meat and any other solids to a separate medium bowl and break the beef into small pieces. Mix together with half of the shredded cheeses, the cilantro and the jalapeños.

6. Spread ¾ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Microwave the tortillas according to package directions to soften. Spread about ⅓ cup of the beef mixture down the center of each tortilla, roll up tightly, and place in the baking dish seam-side down. Pour the remaining sauce evenly over the enchiladas and spread to ensure that all of the ends are covered in sauce.

7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over top of the enchiladas, cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the cheese browns slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Make-Ahead: The beef filling and sauce can be prepared through step #5 and refrigerated in separate containers for up to 2 days. Prepare the rest of the recipe as directed, increasing the covered baking time by 5 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2008)

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