Last Updated on March 1, 2022 by Carne Diem
Origin: Mexican, North American
Method: Grill/Stovetop, OvenJump to Recipe
A Love Of Scratch Mexican Cooking
An ode to Rick Bayless
Don't tell my wife, but I have a bit of a man crush on Chef Rick Bayless. After watching him win Top Chef Masters, I dove deep into his cookbook Mexican Kitchen. He has also built a bit of a food empire in the last few years: Michelin starred restaurant: check. Casual eateries: check. Torta station at the airport: check. Ever growing line of salsas, tortillas, marinades: check. He has brought to the forefront what scratch and authentic Mexican cooking can be. It is such a shame that Mexican cuisine in the U.S. has become so commercialized and "Americanized" that most people don't look much further than cooking up some hamburger with a packet of seasoning, and throwing it in a shelf stable tortilla, with some canned beans, and jarred salsa. Chef Bayless is starting to open people's eyes to just how much more delicious true Mexican cuisine is, and how rewarding a properly cooked "scratch" meal can be.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
― Julia Child
When I first started cooking Rick Bayless recipes, my ultimate goal was to prepare the dish I saw him win Top Chef Masters with: His famous Oaxacan Black Mole. Prepared with more than 25 ingredients, including a few peppers not readily found in the U.S., it was a true cooking adventure but was a rewarding one in the end. In preparing to make this dish, 2 ingredients became especially hard to find: Chilhuacle Negros and Pasilla Oaxaca. The first batch I admit to overpaying to have some dried chilies sent to me. After that I got a little smarter and was able to grow the plants from seed, which have become a staple in our garden ever since. While I find myself not making that famous mole as often anymore, I have found 2 of the best tasting peppers on the planet, that I now frequently use in many Mexican dishes and salsas.
Avoid shortcuts and cook with fresh ingredients
This recipe is less about having people track down these hard to find ingredients and more about how rewarding cooking from scratch can be and how trying new recipes and ingredients may just lead you to find a new favorite. For those that want to order these chilies they can be found dried at a number of online merchants such as World Spice Merchants. The enchilada sauce turns out great, however, with other easier to find chiles such as regular pasilla, ancho, poblano, or another favorite, roasted hatch chilies. Pick your peppers, mix it up, and make it your own. The following recipe is at its best when it is all from scratch, the seasoning, tortillas, and enchilada sauce, so do yourself a favor, don't take short cuts, and open your eyes and stomachs to a better way of doing things.
Making the Scratch Fire Roasted Chile and Beef Enchiladas
Fire Roasting the Veggies
Cut the onion half into 2 quarters and cut the bottom off of the head of garlic.
Heat a grill for direct heat. Cook the chiles, onion, and garlic on the grill until they have developed a nice char, turning every few minutes. If you do not wish to use a grill you can also roast the veggies in a hot oven or briefly under a broiler.
You may also char the veggies in a very hot skillet. The goal is to evenly blister the skin of the chiles and to soften the garlic and onion.
When the peppers have evenly blistered, remove them from the grill and place in a bowl, along with the charred onion and garlic. Cover with plastic wrap.
Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the stems, seeds, and skin. If you are having trouble, try removing the skins while holding the peppers under some cold running water. You do not need to remove every last fleck of skin, but remove as much as you can.
Making the Sauce for the Scratch Enchiladas
Place the pepper and onion in a food processor and pulse to finely chop.
Add the garlic by squezing the softened roasted garlic out of the head. Discard the skins. Add the spices and 1 cup of broth and blend until smooth.
Add the mixture to a sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a brief boil, then simmer on the stove for 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup of broth and the tomato paste and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Add in the vinegar and pinch of cinnamon. Stir and remove from heat. The sauce alone may taste slightly bitter due to the roasted chiles, but do not worry, it blends wonderfully with the rest of the dish.
If you are short on time, the sauce can be made a day or two ahead of time and then kept in the refrigerator. Warm slightly and stir well before using.
Prepare the seasoning mix
Combine the spices for the seasoning mix in a small bowl and mix well. The recipe provides enough seasoning for 2 pounds of meat so use the extra to make tacos, a double batch of enchiladas, or try our Navajo Frybread Tacos with Seasoned Bison or Pub Style Irish Nachos.
Cook the beef filling for the scratch enchiladas
In a skillet, cook the 1 pound of ground meat over medium heat until cooked through.
Drain any fat then add ¾ cup of water and 3 tablespoons of the seasoning. Stir well to combine and simmer for about 5 minutes. Save the remaining seasoning for another use.
Assemble and cook the Scratch Fire Roasted Chile and Beef Enchiladas
The recipe should provide enough sauce and filling for a 9x13 pan of enchiladas, or you can divide the recipe into 2 8x8 pans. We typically cook an 8x8 pan and then freeze the other pan for later.
Dip the corn tortillas in the sauce then spread some of the meat mixture in the center of the tortilla. Top with about 1-2 tablespoons of cheese, then roll the tortilla and place in the dish.
Repeat with additional tortillas until the meat is used up. Typically, this is enough for about 8-10 enchiladas if you are using soft taco sized tortillas.
Top with the additional sauce and then with some additional cheese. Use as much or as little as you like. Our kids think the cheesier the better.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warm throughout. This typically takes about 20 minutes.
Serve the scratch fire roasted chile and beef enchiladas with your favorite salsa and guacamole and some fresh cilantro.
Cooking for a group and want to make an entire Mexican or Tex-Mex meal? Try some Carne Asada Street Tacos and Hatch Chile Verde to make it a group event. Don't forget the fresh guacamole and Habanero Margaritas.
We hope we have helped to open your eyes to the joy of scratch cooking. Thanks for reading, and please leave us a rating and comment below if you enjoyed the recipe. Looking for more great recipes, please give us a follow on Instagram and Facebook.
Scratch Roasted Chile and Beef Enchiladas
- Sauce Pan
- 9x13 baking dish
- Corn Tortillas preferably fresh made or from a local tortilleria
- 1 pound Ground Beef
- Chihuahua Cheese
Scratch Enchilada Sauce
- 10 Roasted Pasilla Peppers
- 1 Roasted Garlic Bulb
- ½ Roasted Onion
- 1 tea Salt
- 1 tea Mexican Oregano
- 2 cups Chicken Broth
- 1 tea Cumin
- 3 Tab Tomato Paste
- 1 tea Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/16 tea Cinnamon (pinch)
- 1 Tab California Chile Powder
- 1 Tab Hatch Chile Powder (mild)
- 1 Tab New Mexico Chile Powder
- 1 Tab Paprika
- 1 Tab Oregano preferably Mexican
- 1 tea Salt
- 1 tea Onion Powder
- 1 tea Garlic Powder
- ½ tea Corn Starch
- ½ tea Cumin
Fire Roasting the Peppers
- Heat a grill for direct heat. Halve the onion and cut the bottom off of the head of garlic. Cook the chiles, onion, and garlic on the grill until they have developed a nice char, turning every few minutes. If you do not wish to use a grill you can also roast the veggies in a hot oven or briefly under a broiler.
- When the peppers have evenly blistered, remove them from the grill and place in a bowl, along with the charred onion and garlic. Cover with plastic wrap.
- When the chiles have cooled, remove the stems, seeds, and the blistered skin from the peppers. Sometimes this is best accomplished by doing this under some cold running water. If you are having problems removing the skin, you may not have blistered the peppers enough. A little of the skin is not going to hurt anything, but remove as much as possible.
Make the Enchilada Sauce
- Blend the chiles and onion in a food processor. Add the garlic by squeezing it out of the bulb Add in the spices and 1 cup of broth and blend until smooth.
- Simmer on the stove for 5 minutes. Add 1 additional cup of broth and tomato paste. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Add vinegar and pinch of cinnamon. Stir and remove from heat.
Make the beef seasoning
- Mix the spices for the beef seasoning in a small bowl. The spice recipe listed is enough to season 2 pounds of meat. Save the extra to make tacos or you can make a double batch of enchiladas by cooking 2 pounds of hamburger and doubling the rest of the recipe.
Cook the beef filling
- In a skillet, cook the 1 pound of ground meat over medium heat until cooked through.
- Drain any fat then add ¾ cup of water and 3 tablespoons of the seasoning. Stir well to combine and simmer for about 5 minutes. Save the remaining seasoning for another use.
Assemble and bake the enchiladas
- Pour about ½ cup of sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
- Dip the corn tortillas in the sauce then spread some of the meat mixture in the center of the tortilla. Top with about a tablespoon of cheese, then roll the the tortilla and place in the dish. Repeat with additional tortillas until the meat is used up. Typically, this is enough for about 8-10 enchiladas if you are using soft taco sized tortillas.
- Top the enchiladas with additional sauce and cheese, to your preference.
- Bake, uncovered, in a 350 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warm throughout. This typically takes about 20 minutes.