Cheese Enchiladas with Chilli con Carne


Enchiladas is Spanish for something like ‘covered in chilli’, and refers to tortillas dipped in chilli sauce. In this version corn tortillas are dipped in chilli con carne, stuffed with cheese, and baked with more chilli con carne and cheese. I saw it on Meals With Mel, and decided right away I wanted to try this Tex-Mex version of lasagna.


I served it with refried beans and it was absolutely delicious. The chilli had great depth of flavor thanks to the use of multiple types of chiles and just the right amount of heat. I made some minor changes to Mel’s recipe, the most important being the addition of tomato paste and sugar to the chilli to balance out the flavor. This was wonderful and I will make it again. Thank you, Mel! Here’s my version…



For 3 servings (or 6 if you double the cheese and tortillas)

3 ancho chiles

2 guajillo chiles

2 chipotle chiles

250 grams (.55 lb) coarsely ground beef

1 onion, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 bottle of beer

4 Tbsp masa (processed cornflour for making tortillas)

6 corn tortillas, I used homemade

250 grams (.55 lb) grated cheese

3 Tbsp olive oil

500 ml (2 cups) beef stock

1 Tbsp brown sugar (piloncillo if you can find it)

1 Tbsp tomato paste

salt and freshly ground black pepper



Heat up a frying pan over high heat and toast the ancho and guajillo chiles in the hot pan for about 15 seconds per side.


Cover the chiles with water. Add the chipotles and bring to a boil.


Turn off the heat and cover with a plate to submerge the chiles. Allow to steep 30 minutes.


After 30 minutes, discard the soaking water and remove the stems and seeds. Removing the seeds is easier under cold running water.


Put the chiles in a blender.


Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add 1/2 minced onion and cook over medium low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.


Add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp ground cumin, 1 tsp dried oregano, and 1 tsp smoked paprika.


Stir until fragrant (about a minute), then turn off the heat. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste and stir to incorporate.


Add the onion mixture from the frying pan to the blender with the chiles.


Blend to obtain a chile puree.


Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and add 250 grams of ground beef. Cook over medium high heat, stirring and breaking up the meat with wooden spatulas…


…until the raw color has disappeared.


Add a bottle of beer.


Bring to a boil.


Add the chile paste.


Stir to incorporate the chile paste, then add 500 ml of beef stock.


Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.


Cover and simmer, stirring now and then, for 30 minutes.


After those 30 minutes, make a slurry of 4 Tbsp masa with 80 ml hot water, and add it to the chilli to thicken it.

Meanwhile, make the corn tortillas (if making them from scratch like I did), or warm them up.


Stir to incorporate, and simmer for another 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and season to taste with piloncillo (or brown sugar, I used a tablespoon), salt and freshly ground black pepper. You could add cayenne pepper if it’s not hot enough for you. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.


Cover the bottom of an oven proof dish with a layer of chilli.


Dip a tortillas in the chilli on both sides, using tongs.


Put the tortilla on a plate. Arrange a handful of grated cheese on top as well as a bit of minced onion.


Roll the tortilla up.


Arrange the rolled up tortilla in the baking dish. Repeat with the other tortillas.


Cover with the remaining chilli.


Cover with grated cheese and sprinkle with minced onion.


Bake for 20 minutes at 180C/350F.


The enchiladas are now ready to be served.

Wine pairing

Although I suppose beer is more traditional, this is also very good with Côtes-du-Rhône or another grenache/syrah blend from the South of France.



In Liguria ravioli are called pansoti (or pansotti) and are stuffed with a mixture of cheese and greens. The traditional mixture of greens is called “preboggion”, which refers to greens found growing in the wild on the Ligurian coast. Pansoti are often served with a walnut sauce.

20 thoughts on “Cheese Enchiladas with Chilli con Carne

  1. As a connoisseur of Tex-Mex, I can tell you that your recipe is pretty much spot on. Not sure about ‘balancing’ flavors with sugar in such a dish. I might instead add an ancho and cut out a chipotle. Still, pretty darn good!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am now wondering if the restaurant would share their recipe (or if they are still open- this was years ago in Austin, TX). They were very herbaceous, white sauce and definitely used green chile, shrimp and white fish.


    1. I probably will; thanks again! My intention with the chipotle was to add some smokiness, but it may very well have added some spiciness as well — that is why I didn’t think I needed to add cayenne pepper as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stefan,

    I read your blog avidly, and have to get back to you on this post. I’m a native of Texas and a great lover of Tex-Mex food, and i cooked it on many occasions during my seven visits to Amsterdam. After reading your recipe for Chile con Carne, I’ll give you mine. Chile con Carne .

    Your fan,

    Matte Gray

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great blog, I’m really enjoying reading it.

    Just a tip on making chilli (from a native Californian), when I make chilli, rather than use beef mince, I use 2cm cubes of beef (from a good braising cut) and then cook them with the pureed chillies and some liquid in the pressure cooker until the meat is easy to shred (about 30 to 40 minutes). After cooking, I break it up with the back of a spoon or a potato masher, and then proceed as you did in the recipe. If you use the pressure cooker, it doesn’t really add any time to the recipe above, but you end up with a much nicer dish in the end. You can do the same thing with pork shoulder, too. When I make chili con carne, I use 50/50 beef shin and pork shoulder.

    Liked by 1 person

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