A couple of weeks ago my friend Josie shared a recipe for a tequila-braised short rib enchilada. I was immediately sold. I made it for dinner one night last week, and my boys haven’t been able to stop talking about it since then! I know they’ll be on the menu again sooner rather than later, which is always a sure sign of a winning recipe.
Short ribs are braised in a bath of tequila and beef stock, with some onions and a poblano pepper tossed in to bring a little extra flavor to the party. I used boneless short ribs, because that’s what I had in the freezer – but bone in would be fine as well. The flavor of the beef after 3 hours in the oven was unparalleled to anything I’ve had grace my kitchen before, and I’m not just saying that. This will most definitely be my go-to ”barbacoa-style” beef for any Mexican dishes I make from here on out – tacos, burritos, quesadillas…you name it! Perfectly flavored and seasoned, it was just out of this world. Plus it’s a relatively hands-off dish, just browning the beef in a pan followed by softening of the onions and pepper, then a slow cook in the oven. I love those kinds of meals!
Once the beef was done I rolled it up in corn tortillas with a mixture of cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, topped with a quick homemade enchilada sauce and some more cheese, and baked to a melty, bubbly goodness. I think we all agree that these took the crown for favorite enchilada in our house, taking the position from my infamous chicken enchiladas. Which, really says something, you guys. Served with a simple Spanish rice, this was a filling and delicious meal that the whole family could get behind. I just you know your family will enjoy it as much as we did!
Tequila-Braised Short Rib Enchiladas
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 1/2 – 3 lbs beef short ribs (6-8)
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large onion, chopped
1 large poblano pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup tequila (this isn’t the place for Patron, folks!)
3/4 cup beef broth
2 cups enchilada sauce
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, divided
12-15 corn tortillas
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. Season both sides of the short ribs liberally with salt and pepper. Cook the short ribs 3-4 minutes on each side, or until they are browned – working in batches if necessary. Remove to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining short ribs.
Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the oil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and add the onions and poblano with 1/4 teaspoon of salt to the pot. Cover and cook until they are softened but not browned, 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, chili powder and cumin. Cook about 1 minute longer, until the mixture is fragrant.
Pour in the tequila as well as the beef broth, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits. Return the short ribs, along with any juices that have accumulated onto the plate, into the sauce. Remove from heat, cover, and transfer to the oven.
Cook the short ribs 2 1/2 – 3 hours, or until they are very tender and the meat easily separates with a fork. Remove the meat from the sauce, and transfer them to a plate too cool. Once cool enough to handle, shred beef with two forks (discarding bones and visible fat) and place in bowl.
Pour the remaining braising liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup. Press down on any solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Allow to cool slightly, then use a large spoon to skim as much fat off the top as possible. Add this to the prepared enchilada sauce, mix to combine. Add the strained solids to the bowl with the shredded beef and toss to combine.
Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees, and lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Stack the tortillas on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave about 1 minute, or until the tortillas are soft and pliable.
Combine 1 cup of cheddar and 1 cup of Jack cheese in a small bowl and toss to combine.
To assemble the enchiladas, add a scant 1/4 cup of the beef and a small handful of the cheese mixture onto each tortilla, and roll tightly. Arrange the enchiladas in a single layer in the prepared baking dish, seam side-down. Repeat with the remaining tortillas and filling.
Lightly brush the tops of the enchiladas with vegetable oil, and bake 7 minutes, or until the tortillas begin to brown. Remove from the oven and pour enchilada sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, cover the dish with foil, and return to the oven.
Bake 20 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for 5 more minutes to melt the cheese. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Source: adapted from Pink Parsley