This recipe is also very forgiving if you have to substitute a couple of the ingredients. Living in Arizona, it is very easy for me to find specific chile peppers and spices. However, my boys while in the military and some of my out of state friends frequently have trouble finding some of the specific ingredients so they substitute them. It may not taste EXACTLY the same but it still turns out delicious and better than the stuff in the can! Sometimes you just have to use what you have on hand!
Keep in mind if you are a vegetarian OR prefer using chicken or pork instead of shredded beef...I can help you tweak the recipe to work for you. For my friends and family that prefer vegetarian...you can make this recipe with black beans and rice for the filling or shredded cheese & onion or chiles (in place of the meat). For those that prefer chicken or pork...you can just use it in place of the shredded beef. Ground beef can also be used in place of shredded beef! I personally prefer my red enchilada sauce with beef, pork or vegetarian beans and rice. I prefer my chicken enchiladas or cheese & spinach enchiladas with the green enchilada sauce (recipe for that will come in the future) and my seafood enchiladas with a white sauce. Again....it is all personal preference. Actually...just about anything smothered in red enchilada sauce is delicious! It is very popular in Arizona to find steaks or chicken on the menu smothered in enchilada sauce & cheese.
This is a great recipe because you can make enchiladas in advance and put it in the oven when you need it. They also freeze well! You can also skip over the task of rolling the enchiladas and just layer them casserole style. It all works fine! I like to cook my beef in the crock-pot or pressure cooker along with some dried chiles and onion for extra flavor and tenderness but you can use canned beef if you prefer. This is also a good way to use up the left over beef or pork roast! :)
Enchiladas with Red Sauce Recipe:
- 16 oz. can of tomato sauce
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped or pureed onion or 3 tbs. dried minced onion (depends on how much flavor you want)
- 1-2 tbs. finely chopped garlic (or substitute 2 tsp. garlic powder not garlic salt!)
- dash salt
- 2 cups water or broth (I like to use the broth from my meat but you can use vegetable stock or water if you are making it vegetarian)
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 1/2 - 3 tsp. chile powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
- 1/4 - 1 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder (depending on how spicy you like it). If you can't find the chipotle chile powder which has a slightly smokey flavor then just use additional chile powder.
- 2-3 dried ancho chiles (rehydrated then pureed) or you can substitute 1-2 chipotle chilies canned in adobe sauce - pureed (save the rest for something else) or in a pinch you can substitute 1 small (5-7oz) can of chopped green chiles. (Not pickled jalapenos!) If for any reason you don't have any actual chiles available...just use extra chile powder to taste. You can add chile powder to get the spiciness you want although you may have to play around with measurements just a little bit.
- 2 tbs. gluten free corn starch (or substitute tapioca starch or rice flour). Read your labels if you are gluten free! Many of the corn starch brands contain wheat or are processed on equipment with wheat products!
- 4 tbs. hot water
|Corn starch & water paste|
I like to use corn tortillas for my beef enchiladas which is what most of the Mexican restaurants use. There is a slight trick to getting them flavorful and not slimy. This is an important step to making enchiladas with corn tortillas so I highly suggest you do it or else you will end up with slimy, flavorless tortillas. (Trust me....I am speaking from experience!) You want to slightly warm your corn tortillas in a skillet individually on both sides for just a few seconds until they sizzle and get flexible. Not only does it make them easier to work with but it brings out the corn flavor of the tortillas. (Think you are flipping pancakes. It is just like that. I use a skillet that has been sprayed lightly with a non-stick cooking spray because you don't want to FRY the tortillas...you just want them lightly toasty and soft. I do mine about 15-20 seconds on each side. Although this is slightly tedious, it is well worth the extra effort for the flavor and texture of your enchiladas!)
Once you have all of your tortillas slightly pan toasted. I take my enchilada filling(s) and put the ingredients down the center of the tortilla. My favorite is shredded beef with shredded cheddar cheese. I fold each edge inward and place seam side down in a slightly greased pan or oven proof baking dish. If I am making them for a small group then I just bake them on my cute little Mexican pottery dishes right in the oven. If I am making for a larger crowd then I bake in 9x13 pan or lasagna pan. Pour the enchilada sauce over top of the stuffed tortillas and sprinkle with cheese. I also like to garnish with some chopped green onion or dried oregano for added color. I bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 30-40 minutes or until everything is heated through and cheese on top is melted.
|Shredded Beef Enchiladas with red sauce & side of beans|
|Up close view of the inside of my shredded beef enchiladas!|
|Vegetarian Black Beans & Rice Enchiladas|
|Chicken with red enchilada sauce, corn tortillas and montery jack cheese (someone ate all the cheddar cheese!)|
I hope you enjoy my recipe for enchiladas. It is a great recipe for casual entertaining on the patio or for a Mexican themed dinner party. I like to make the Mexican Corn Flour Cookies for dessert (see recipe for this on the blog posted April 5, 2014)
Gluten Free Casually