Beef Enchiladas

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WHAT'S UP

The 1st dish I cooked in my home here in Tassie.

The first Mexican cookbook, El cocinero mexicano , was published in 1831. But we know the Aztecs ate small fish wrapped in corn tortillas for centuries before. In their original form as Mexican street food, enchiladas were simply corn tortillas dipped in chilli sauce and eaten without fillings.

It took the domestic genius of ranch cooks to make them into the iteration we enjoy today. The task of caring for hard working people any time of the day requires the household manager to be strategic and open minded. Having hearty flavorful and filling food ready quickly is the only way to keep the business side of things ticking over smoothly, and the most sensible way of maintaining good morale and keeping the team looked after. True to form, the New Mexican style of Stack Enchiladas is the American revision of this bedrock recipe. Instead of rolling the filling inside of oil toasted corn tortillas, these are stacked in layers, and topped with a fried egg. Easily giving you more servings per pan than the original Mexican standard. Add this great method to Mrs Tula Borunda- Gutierrez’s, of the landmark Old Borunda Café, combination plate formula creation of rice and beans, and a main choice of either enchilada, taco, or tamale and you have a great new way to keep anyone, quickly and assuredly deliciously, fed. It was such a great creation that EVERY Tex-Mex spot uses this formula today.

I immigrated to New South Wales in 2008. We started looking for our new home immediately. While my husband worked, I researched possibilities. I was so ready to put me roots down and begin nesting. We really didn’t find a good fit, and so we agreed to broaden our search and consider other places. Christmas was coming soon and we were invited to come to Tassie to have our first Christmas with Nicholas’ parents. This was great news to me. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was really getting disheartened. As soon as the plane began its descent onto this beautiful island, I knew I was home. I made a promise to myself that I would try to find a place before we were due back in NSW.

After 26 walk-throughs we found our place! Huzzah!!! So, after the fastest unpack in human history it was time to fill the cupboards. I knew the first meal in this house needed to set the tone for my life in Australia. I knew it had to be something Granny Ivy, as I wanted to bless this space. I thought meaty, cheesy, spicy, satisfying, and quick to get on, and not too much work, that means Enchiladas. I usually pair these with a fresh, juicy Ranch dressed salad. The cool buttermilk dressing provides creamy cool relief to offset the Enchis power.

My Aunt Carolyn makes her enchiladas with flour tortillas, because her young children did not like corn tortillas as much. This is a very important game changer; I never used flour tortillas until I saw her make them. It really helps the enchiladas build and hold like Lasagne or Moussaka. I think it is the gluten in the flour that gives you the structure. It gives them a flexibility that corn just cannot mimic. I also can swear by the crowd feeding power of this change. One pack of burrito size tortillas will make you a thick and hearty pan of enchiladas that you can feed an army with, even without adding the fired egg topper.

Beef Enchiladas

My Aunt Carolyn makes her enchiladas with flour tortillas, because her young children did not like corn tortillas as much. This is a very important game changer; I never used flour tortillas until I saw her make them. It really helps the enchiladas build and hold like Lasagne or Moussaka. I think it is the gluten in the flour that gives you the structure. It gives them a flexibility that corn just cannot mimic. 

Ingredients

TEXICAN SPICE MIX

  • 2 cups Chilli powder (US blended NON spicy chilli powder)
  • 1 cup Sweet paprika
  • 1/2 cup Ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup Garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup Onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons Ground dried chipotle chile pepper or mild smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons Dried oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons Ground coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Cayenne

ENCHILADA SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup Vegetable oil
  • 1 Large, chopped, white strong onion
  • 6 Cloves chopped garlic
  • 2 Bottles tomato passata
  • 3 cups Chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons Dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Smoked paprika
  • 4 tablespoons Ancho chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons Guajillo powder
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons Onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon Brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Ground chipotle
  • 1 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste

BEEF FILLING

  • 1 kilo 80 – 90% lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon Granulated garlic
  • 1 + 1/2 teaspoon Taco seasoning mix
  • 2 + 1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon Salt

FOR ASSEMBLING

  • 8 10in Flour tortillas, cut into quarters (I use Mission brand)
  • 4 cups Colby cheese Shredded by hand

Instructions

  • TEXICAN SPICE MIX
    Whisk together until evenly combined.  
  • ENCHILADA SAUCE
    Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add onion and sauté 2 minutes. Then add garlic and spices. Toast for about 3 minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients except salt and pepper, whisk, bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.
  • Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until thickened, whisking occasionally.
  • Season with salt and pepper. Blend with an immersion blender.
  • Set aside for assembly.
  • THE BEEF FILLING
    Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring frequently and breaking into pieces, until just slightly pink, about 2 minutes. Add the spice mix, and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes more, or until cooked through.
  • To assemble: Preheat oven to 350°F and move the oven rack to the center position. Foil line a 9×13-in glass or ceramic baking dish. Lightly or spray oil and set aside.
  • Set aside 1 cup of the sauce for the top. (You want to ensure that you have enough to cover the top layer of tortillas, otherwise they won't cook through.)
  • Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with a layer of tortillas, overlapping them slightly.Spoon half of the beef (and any juices) over the tortillas. Top with half ofthe sauce and 1/3 of the cheese. Repeat with another layer of tortillas, the remaining beef, remaining sauce, and 1/3 of the cheese. Top with the remaining tortillas. Spread the reserved sauce over the tortillas and cover completely.Sprinkle the remaining cheese evenly over top. Bake, covered, for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the casserole is heated through.
  • Remove the foil and bake for 12-15 minutes more and the cheese is completely melted.

Notes

MAKE AHEAD: These stack enchiladas can be prepared ahead of time, tightly covered with foil, and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to 3 months before baking (if frozen, defrost in the refrigerator before cooking).It can also be fully baked, tightly covered with foil, and refrigerated for up to two days or frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat: defrost if necessary and heat the covered casserole in a 350°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until hot.

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