I grew up in Los Angeles, and Mexican and Latin foods are comfort foods for me. For over a decade, I lived in the UK, outside of London (where there would have been wider choice of ingredients), and I struggled to find the ingredients for most of my favourite dishes. I even imported things like roasted, diced chillies, and chipotle spice via home visits or care packages from my mum. These days, however, even a local Tesco has a good chance of having most of the ingredients for this recipe – the times, they are a’changing.
I am a big fan of enchiladas. They’re especially nice for my husband’s wheat/gluten allergy, as they’re a corn tortilla dish instead of flour. The enchilada sauce (basically watery chili powder) can be bought in a tin or jar, and it saves a step and a pan. You can buy enchilada packs in the supermarket, and it should have corn tortillas and the red enchilada sauce. If you prefer to use Quorn over beef, it’s also vegetarian, and you can also substitute refried beans for meat for the same result.
Most of the time, if you order an enchilada plate in a restaurant, it’s dripping with cheese and sauce, and can be a little overwhelming. This recipe misses none of the flavour, but includes the all-important hidden veg and goes a little easier on the cheese. Casserole presentation allows for several more servings in the baking dish, and is so much easier to put together than trying to roll up each enchilada. I even let the kids help me layering the tortillas, meat, cheese and sauce in assembly line fashion. It’s delicious fun, topped off with a bit of soured cream and salsa or a side salad – the whole family will be coming back for more.
- 1 cup chopped white onion (I use frozen)
- 1 tsp veg oil of choice
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp fresh or dried garlic minced
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp chipotle pepper powder
- 1lb lean minced beef
- ½ cup shredded carrot
- 1 cup chopped coriander/cilantro (frozen or fresh)
- I packet of small corn tortillas (approximately 10-15 used)
- 1 8oz jar or tin of enchilada sauce (if you can’t find ready-made, it’s pretty easy to make)
- 3-4 cups shredded mild cheese (Double Gloucestershire and Red Leicester are lovely for this)
To begin, I add the onions and dry spices to a hot pan with a bit of oil. Once the onions are coated, I add the beef and mix it all together in the pan.
Fry off the mixture, browning the beef and onions together. This will keep the spices from burning and allows the meat to absorb all of those flavours.
Once the beef is mostly browned, add the carrots and coriander with about 1/3 cup of water and reduce heat to simmer.
While the beef simmers and reduces, you can begin to layer the casserole in a baking tray.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the sauce to the bottom of the baking dish before adding a layer of tortillas. I usually cut some of the tortillas in half to fit nicely against the sides.
Add a layer of shredded cheese onto the tortillas, and then a layer of meat, before covering with another layer of tortillas. Top the tortillas with another couple tablespoons of the sauce before the cheese the next time to wet them.
Repeat once or twice, depending the depth of your baking dish. The last layer should be just sauce and cheese, for a nice crispy, gooey cheese top.
Bake uncovered at 180C/350F in the top 1/3 of the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes, or until the top is golden. Allow to rest for 5 minutes or more to cool before serving.
I usually add a dollop of soured cream and some hot sauce to mine, but the kids like it just the way it is!