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Braised Beef Enchiladas, Esquites, Citrus Salad

Enchiladas are absolutely one of the best meals on the planet. You get so much flavor out of all the delicious things on the plate. Usually, that plate includes rice and beans, but I often find that I'm way to full to function afterwards. I set out to create a really tasty enchilada plate with a couple of lighter sides. This means you're getting braised beef enchiladas with a rich and bright sauce, esquites, and a punchy citrusy salad. Make these with rice and beans if you wish, but this meal is absolutely stellar as is.


Beef Enchiladas

2 pounds of beef chuck, cut into large chunks 4 tomatoes 3-4 tomatillos Yellow onion 4 new mexican dried chiles 4 cloves garlic 1 jalapeño Small amount of tomato paste 3 cups beef broth 1 tsp cumin seeds (can be replaced with dry cumin, just use more) Half cinnamon stick Bay leaf 12 corn tortillas 5 oz queso oaxaca



Salad/ Dressing

Surprise Guacamole


Alright so this one has a lot of steps, but I'll try to break it out into sections that make the most sense. We'll start by getting through the braised beef and enchilada sauce, as these are definitely the most involved piece of the puzzle. Season the chuck roast pieces with salt and set aside while preparing the vegetables for the braising liquid. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, char the onion, jalapeno, dried chili pods, tomatoes, tomatillos, and garlic until they are nicely browned on the cut side. There are a lot of veggies here so they made need to be charred in batches. Remove from heat and add the cumin seeds and cinnamon stick to the hot skillet to toast them slightly. Set those aside as well.

In a large braising vessel, sear the chuck roast pieces until browned on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot and set it aside. Add a squeeze of oil to the pot and sauté tomato paste until slightly darkened, but be careful not to let it burn. Add a splash of water to deglaze the pan, scraping up all those flavorful bits that are stuck. Return the beef to the pot along with the charred vegetables, toasted cumin, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Pour in the beef stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Season with a pinch of salt, cover the pot, and let it simmer on low heat for around 3 hours, or until the beef is really deliciously tender. We'll add more salt in the sauce at the end, so don't worry about nailing the seasoning now.

Once the braising is done, remove the beef to cool and fish out the bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Blend the remaining braising liquid and vegetables using a stick blender or transfer them to a regular blender. If you want a smoother sauce, you can run a majority of the blended mixture through a sieve, but you don't have to if you want a more rustic sauce. Return the strained sauce to the stove over medium-high heat and reduce it by at least half, until it reaches the consistency of an enchilada sauce. This is the point to taste it and really nail the salt. It will definitely need it, so be generous. Set the sauce aside to cool and shred your beef using tongs or your hands. Separate the meat from any fat that may have stuck around. Add a ladleful of the enchilada sauce to the meat just to make sure it's juicy.

Preheat your oven to 375°F for the enchiladas. Dip each corn tortilla in the enchilada sauce to coat both sides. Stack them on a plate to allow the sauce to soak in. Place a thin layer of the enchilada sauce in a baking dish and begin rolling the enchiladas. Fill each tortilla with a few tablespoons of the beef and some queso Oaxaca strands. This stuff is beautifully stringy and melts really well, but it can be replaced with mozzarella if you can't find it. Once all enchiladas are rolled, top them with the remaining enchilada sauce. Add more queso Oaxaca and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese for that classic enchilada vibe. Bake the enchiladas in the preheated oven for 15-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. These are gonna stay real hot for a while, so let them rest for now.


Now we'll work on the esquites. It's pretty easy to remove the kernels from the cob if you put one large bowl down with a smaller bowl inverted in the middle of it. Stand your cob on the small bowl and slice down to remove the kernels; they should land in the basin of the larger bowl. Dice your red onion and jalapeno, and we'll prep our crema. In a small bowl, stir together the greek yogurt, salt, and lime juice. This should be creamy and bright; feel free to adjust the texture with a few drops of water if you need to. In a medium-high skillet, add olive oil and corn kernels. Season with salt and pepper. Let the corn kernels char and develop a nice roasted flavor. Add diced red onion and jalapeno, sautéing until everything is nicely browned. Remove the skillet from heat and let the esquites cool slightly before adding crumbled queso fresco and the crema. Toss the esquites with the cheese and crema until well combined. You can really add them to taste, I like a lot of the queso fresco in these bad boys. Top with cilantro if you're into that and enjoy!


For the salad dressing, bled half an avocado with the juice of a lime and some salt. Add the cider vinegar and blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of neutral oil. This will thicken the mix into a beautiful creamy consistency. In a salad bowl, combine washed and chopped romaine with sliced red onion, orange segments, and sliced radishes. Lightly dress the salad with the avocado lime dressing when you're ready to serve.


In a bowl, mash your avocados with a fork until just combined. In my opinion, guac is best when there is a little texture, but not massive chunks. Season with a generous amount of salt and lime, this should be really punchy from the lime. You can optionally add diced red onion and jalapeno, but it's delicious on it's own as well. Serve with crumbled queso fresco and you're good to go.

Finishing Everything

Serve the enchiladas with a drizzle of crema alongside the esquites and salad. This makes for a really delicious forkful if you're into mixing food. If not, feel free to enjoy them on their own! This is a crazy tasty version of enchiladas you don't often see; it's bright, deep, and rich, all at once. Cheers!



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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