#ThursYumYum - Beef Enchiladas with Spicy Chile Sauce

Okay, I gotta say Mexican is my favorite food in the world. I could eat it three times a day if it weren't for the calories and how badly it would affect my blood sugar. Since I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, I've had to cut back on how often and how much of my favorite food I eat.

When I was in Colorado a few years ago, I ordered enchiladas that were covered with a spicy red chile sauce from a wonderful Durango restaurant called Francisco's. I enjoyed my experience so much that I had one of my characters in my upcoming release Purgatory order enchiladas from Francisco's. Poor Chris had the same reaction I did. She grabbed her water and gulped down an ounce or two to put out the fire from the sauce. Then she enjoyed the remainder of her meal!

View of Durango looking toward the train station. If you looked the other direction, you would see the block where Francisco's is located. Photo (c) Denise Moncrief 2004

I don't have Francisco's recipe for those enchiladas and I doubt they would give it to me just because I asked. However, I have found a wonderful recipe for beef enchiladas with a spicy red chile sauce that I enjoy. I found this recipe years ago and don't quite remember where I found it. I've tweaked it to my taste over the years. I hope you enjoy it! 

For the chile sauce

olive oil
1/4 of a finely chopped large onion
4 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground oregano
4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp each salt and black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 C chunky salsa
1 6 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 C beef broth

For the meat filling

1 lb ground lean ground beef
3/4 of a finely chopped large onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp each chili powder and cumin
1/2 C of the chile sauce from above (enough to make meat mixture moist but not soggy)
1/2 C beef broth
1/2 C shredded Mexican blend cheese

For rolling the enchiladas

cooking spray
8 six inch tortillas (I prefer flour rather than corn)
Mexican blend cheese (I usually use the remainder of a 2 C bag)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Prepare the chile sauce first. Saute the onion on medium heat in the olive oil until onion is softened. Add the garlic and stir over low heat about 3 minutes, being careful not to burn the mixture. Add the remaining ingredients for the sauce listed above, stirring until the sauce is smooth.

3. Prepare the meat mixture next. Brown the ground beef with the onion, garlic and cumin. Add the 1/2 C chile sauce. Add a little of the beef broth at a time until you can see how moist the mixture is going to be. I don't like my mix to be too soupy. Add the 1/2 C cheese. Now your enchiladas are ready to roll.

4. Heat skillet to medium heat. Spray tortillas front and back with cooking spray to warm. Remove the tortilla from the skillet and place 1/8 of the beef mixture on the tortilla. Add cheese to taste. I like lots of cheese in my enchiladas. Roll the enchilada and place in a glass backing dish that has already been coated with cooking spray. Repeat the process for the remaining 7 tortillas shells. Cover the enchiladas with the remaining chile sauce.

5. Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.

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So do you want to know more about Chris and why she was eating at Francisco's. Well... you'll have to read the book to find out! Here's a blurb to whet your appetite!

All Chris Smith has left of her past are a jagged scar, a set of wedding rings, and flashbacks—bits of memory—smells, sounds, fleeting feelings. Her life is in limbo, a living purgatory, until she meets Steve West, whose construction company is revamping the ski lifts at Purgatory just north of Durango, Colorado. When Brian Parker, the LaPlata County Sheriff, confronts Steve about his overt attention to Chris, Steve claims that Chris is Carol, his kidnapped and still missing wife.

As the story unravels, Chris’s past materializes from her shadowy memories to terrorize her in the form of her stepbrother Cory Powell. Cory holds her captive, believing that her twin sister Carol double-crossed him. Who married Steve? Chris or Carol? Did Chris steal Carol’s identity? Is she involved in kidnapping and murder? Are repressed memories of past crimes the source of her mental distress? Flashes of memory crash her psyche, one painful recollection stacked upon another. Now, her life depends on allowing Cory to believe that she is Carol while they search the wilderness north of Purgatory for the missing ransom money.


Purgatory is book #2 in my Colorado series. Hope you enjoyed the snippet. Chris' story is set for release in early 2014. In the meantime, check out my other published stories.

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