Beef Fajita Enchiladas

January 27, 2009

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These are the beautiful tri-color peppers I used the other night when I made Beef Fajita Enchiladas.

I had started the process earlier in the week–part of something I call “Component Cooking”, which I will write about in detail soon. But I’ll give you the outline for doing it in one shot. Though that “shot” will be a long one, since you have to slow-cook the beef!

For the beef:

Start by trimming your beef roast, approx 3 lbs, (whatever you use as your “pot roast cut” will work beautifully), then season with salt and pepper. Brown it on all sides on the stovetop (I used my favorite Calphalon pan). Once browned, tranfer to a slow cooker or crock-pot.

Add a large onion cut into very large dice, four whole peeled cloves of garlic, a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns, a 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cumin, once can of beef stock, and one can of water. Cook until the meat has grown tender—about 5 hours. You can set the slow-cooker to automatic and leave it all day or overnight. Remove the meat to a cutting board and strain the broth, reserving it. [If you cook the meat in advance, transfer the meat and strained liquid to a bowl or container and keep in the refrigerator. Skim any fat from the top before proceeding.] Shred the beef using two forks, or slice against the grain and break into pieces. Heat in a skillet with the reserved broth, reducing if needed, and adjust the seasonings.

Make the enchilada sauce:

The best recipe I have found was from Emeril. You can find that recipe here. I’ve just tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes—and the fact that tomato paste generally comes in 6 ounce cans!

Easy Enchilada Sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon flour

1/3 cup chili powder

2 cups chicken stock

12 ounces tomato paste

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium saucepan heat oil, add flour, smoothing and stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook for 1 minute.

Add chili powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add stock, tomato paste, oregano, and cumin. Stir to combine.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken and smooth out. Adjust the seasonings.

For the Vegetables:

Cut up four to six (each) peppers and onions, and sear in a bit of vegetable oil in a hot skillet until nicely charred. This seems like a lot of vegetables, but they cook down so–particularly the onions). Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. If you like a bit of heat, you can also fry up some stemmed and seeded jalapenos, or other hot peppers of your choice.

The layered ingredients:

<>Take large burrito-sized flour tortillas and layer the ingredients: a spoonful of sauce, beef, vegetables, and grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese. Sprinkle on some hot sauce, if you like it spicy. Roll up the tortillas, and place in a 9×13 glass baking dish. Spread some more of the sauce on top of each enchilada.** Sprinkle with water–a few Tablespoons should do.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, sprinkle more cheese on top, and bake 10 minutes more. Serve the extra enchilada sauce on the side.

**This is a great do-ahead dish. Once you have them assembled and in the pan, you can cover them with foil and hold them in the fridge for up to 1 day before proceeding. Sprinkle with the water just before putting in the oven. You can also freeze them at this point–just defrost in the fridge for about 8 hours before baking—and to be honest I’ve even popped them in the oven frozen–they just take longer to bake–about 50 minutes or so with the foil on.

These are so easy to make–and very adaptable, too. You can use leftover cooked chicken or pork instead of the beef, add other vegetables–corn, mushrooms—that you have on hand and want to use up, etc.

So go ahead, change it to suit your taste, use up what’s in your fridge, experiment…The enchilada sauce is so yummy—it will bring it all together and make it taste great, I promise!

Filed Under: Mains, Recipe, Savory

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