Photo by Cindy Kennedy

Beef Enchiladas With Ranchero Sauce

Cuisine: Mexican
Enchiladas are a favorite dinner staple for the whole family. Beef enchiladas are just as good as the popular chicken ones.

Beef enchiladas are a great dish for your family or a crowd. Beef often takes a backseat to chicken, but you have so many options; whether it’s ground beef, a shredded roast or steak strips, all are bathed in a rich red sauce and loaded with cheese. So perfect when they come out of the oven, bubbling over with a Monterey jack and cheddar cheese overload.

The word enchiladas means “seasoned with chile peppers” or “filled with chile.” Historical archives support the fact that whole fish were among the first ingredients to receive a tortilla wrapping. Following these pre-Columbian times, of course, the enchilada continued to evolve in many directions with all manner of fillings and sauce treatments.

You can take the easy route with beef enchiladas, using ground beef and a canned sauce. When you want something a little more special, though, a homemade sauce makes a big difference. That’s where ranchero comes into play. Technically, it’s a chunkier sort with more emphasis on onion flavoring and less on tomato. Huevos Rancheros wouldn’t exist without its signature topping, and it’s tasty as a thicker salsa as well. I’ve gone for a blending of tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions and jalapeños. Starting with a roux also helps build the flavors to a wonderful tipping point when the sauce bakes in and around the beef-filled corn tortillas.

Photo by Hispanic Kitchen


More like this


For the Enchiladas
  1. Season the steaks with chili powder and black pepper, and bake in foil until done (about 1 hour).
  2. Boil tomatoes until soft and skin peels away; remove, let cool and chop.
  3. Sauté onions and jalapeños in a little oil in a skillet; set aside.
  4. In saucepan, add oil, heat, and flour to create a roux. Slowly add in warmed chicken broth until it begins to thicken. Add tomato sauce, garlic, cumin, black pepper, tomatoes, peppers, and onion. Simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Add a layer of sauce in a lightly coated 10×14 baking dish.
For the Ranchero Sauce
  1. Spray each tortilla with cooking spray and heat lightly in skillet (spraying helps prevent sogginess). Stack on a plate and keep covered until ready to fill.
  2. Layer in beef strips (or shredded beef or ground beef), along with the chunky sauce pieces (use a slotted spoon), and a sprinkling of shredded cheeses. Roll up each tortilla and add to the baking dish, packing in tightly.
  3. Pour remaining sauce over tops and around sides. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top.
  4. Bake about 30-40 minutes in a 350-degree oven or until top is bubbly and browning.
  5. Serve immediately and freeze remainder if desired.

Chef Notes

I spray the tortillas with cooking spray, then heat them in a skillet until softened. Many recipes state you should then dip them in the sauce before rolling. This can make them soggy, so I choose to just fill and then smother.

View Comments
Dinner Lunch

RecommendedView All