Back with Beef

Hello again everyone, I hope that you’re enjoying your extra day this leap year.

Me? I’m making good use of it with a later than usual recipe post, on the 29th of february. Because it just so happens that, this year, it’s a saturday.

And what kind of recipe do I intend to show you this month? Why, something simple, mexican and a staple to my home cooking, in order to contrast with last month’s second-hand japanese recipe.

Today, I’m making enchiladas again but, unlike the previous batch, I’m not making them bean-based, for my family, or using someone else’s salsa. This recipe is all mine!


To make my enchiladas, you will need:


8 tortillas

1 onion

500g minced beef

220g mature cheddar

300ml sour cream

2 teaspoons of ancho chilli powder

And half a litre of cooking salsa.

For which I used:

1 tin of tomatoes

1 red ramiro pepper (commonly sold as “sweet pointed”)

2 chocolate habanero peppers

3 cloves of garlic

1 shot (25ml) of cider vinegar

2 teaspoons epaƶoté (explained in a previous salsa recipe)

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon sweet, smoked paprika

This salsa is insanely easy to make, since everything in it that requires a long, slow fry for full flavour (the tomato and onion) comes pre-cooked, while the rest will get what little cooking it needs when we slap it onto the finished dish. Or work fine, uncooked, over tacos.

Just don’t try to use it in place of a dipping salsa – You want far fresher ingredients for that.

It’s nothing intricate but it’s a family recipe, carefully refined over the course of my entire life, in order to get the richest, most full on flavour, when used in my mexican cooking. An oaky tang from the apple-based vinegar, earthy depth from the chillies, natural peppery sweetness from the ramiro, a pungeant kick from the garlic and a proper, mexican spice assortment with just a hint of spanish smoke. Every ingredient has its place and purpose.

Yet the method can be summed up in a single sentence: Just crush your garlic, roughly chop and deseed the peppers, then blend everything until it’s a thick, vibrant, almost blood-red liquid.


There really isn’t anything more to it.

And, while it carries a hefty



on its own, it doesn’t pack nearly as much punch in a dish. Cooking it and bulking it out with three different cow products means that, even with a little ancho helping it out, it only reaches the bottom of a



in the finished enchiladas. One that tickles my throat but doesn’t phase me in the slightest.

If you want something with a real kick, I’m afraid that you’ll have to hunt down something rarer. A brown superhot that adds the same flavour qualities, yet has a much higher heat.

Chocolate ghosts would do the job alright but, personally, I prefer the taste of chocolate naga vipers or bhutlahs, if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on either.

Anyway, now that the salsa’s done, it’s about time that we got started on the main dish.

Turn your oven on to preheat at 180°c and slice the onion. Then warm up a little oil in a large frying pan on the hob.

When it’s up to heat, chuck in the onion and mince and fry fry fry, carrying on until an even, pinkless colour has been achieved in the meat and the onions have softened up nicely.


This should take about fifteen minutes, in my experience, but you really want to judge done-ness by the contents of the pan here, not the clock. Especially as the beef cooks almost exclusively on its underside, at any given moment, and so requires regular stirring to reach its desired state.

Once you’re happy with how it’s turned out, though, drop the heat down to low and add in the two teaspoons of ancho powder for a touch more earthiness.

Stir that through, as well, and give it a minute to cook in and infuse slightly, before removing your meat from the heat and moving on to the construction phase.

Here we line each of our tortillas with two tablespoons of the beef and one and a half of the sour cream, something like this:


Before rolling them up and placing them into an oiled casserole dish.

It’s worth noting that I’ve chosen a wheat and corn blend for my tortillas because, while corn gives the best flavour, almost universally, it doesn’t give the same level of flex as wheat does. Pure corn won’t roll into enchiladas, even if it does make the best tacos, so make sure you choose the right wrap for each application.

Once all eight enchiladas are made, all that remains is to drench them in salsa and grate over the cheese, like so:


Before baking for thirty minutes in the now up to temperature oven.



And, while they are a truly beautiful blend of rich, earthy meat, full-flavoured salsa and mildly-tangy dairy, it’s more of a metaphorical beauty than a physical one. They don’t tend to stay together all that well and rarely wind up pretty on the plate, so you won’t be seeing any post-serving shots.

Just know that they were delicious and disappeared very quickly, despite being meant to serve four.

2 thoughts on “Back with Beef

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s