Thursday, December 9, 2010

Beef Enchiladas with Brown Sauce

Maybe this is new to you, maybe its not.  But when I first had these enchiladas with brown sauce- not red, not green, but brown- I fell in love.  I have to credit my step-mother, Linda, for this recipe.  I don't know where she got it, but she taught me how to make this sauce and it has become my family's favorite.  It's a bit of a process, as enchiladas tend to be, but if you've never made enchiladas before, I encourage you to try it!  By the way, I hope you don't mind getting your hands dirty.  Or the counter tops... your stove...wear an apron.  There will be a mess.

Brown some ground beef with a little salt and pepper.  Normally, I would also add some minced onion to this but I was out, so I through in a little onion powder.  It'll do.  Keep the seasoning simple.  Drain the excess fat and set the meat (still in the pan) to the side.

Heat the oil and simultaneously add the flour and minced garlic.  This is important.  If you add the garlic first it will burn.  If you add the flour first, the garlic will not soften properly.  Add them together and stir until the mixture starts to darken brown. 

Add the peanut butter.

Just do it.  No, you are not making peanut butter enchiladas.  No, they will not taste like peanut butter enchiladas.  No, the peanut butter is SO not obvious when you're eating the enchiladas. 

The peanut butter adds a deep brown color and a really rich flavor to the sauce.  It does not taste like peanut butter, at all!  Now, that said, why not just leave the peanut butter out altogether? 


That's why.

Trust me.  You need this ingredient.  Consequently, if you or someone you will be serving this dish to is allergic to peanut butter...DO NOT USE PEANUT BUTTER!!! 

You could substitute with a beef bullion cube, but it will not be quite the same.  If you are not allergic to peanut butter ...USE THE PEANUT BUTTER!!!  Just do it.  You'll thank me later. 

Add water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add spices.  Stir to blend and let simmer on low for about five minutes.

Add about 1/2 cup of sauce to the ground beef and stir to coat the meat.

Heat some oil in another skillet and lightly fry some tortillas.  They should not be crispy.  Drain on paper towels.

Dip the fried tortillas in the sauce making sure to cover them completely in sauce.  Fill them with meat and cheese. 

Roll them and arrange them in a baking dish, seam side down.

Pour the rest of the sauce all over the enchiladas.  I happen to like my enchiladas gooey, lots of sauce. 

Top with cheese and olives.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the enchiladas are heated through and the cheese is all melty and the sauce is all bubbly. 

These are SOOOOOO goooooooooooood.  Pardon my use of excessive 'Os.'

Enchiladas with Brown Sauce Recipe
1 lb ground beef
1/4 c. minced onion or 1/2 tsp onion powder
10-12 corn tortillas
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can of sliced black olives

1/3 c vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. flour
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 c. water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder

Heat oil in a medium sauce pan. Add garlic and flour simultaneously. Stir and brown for 30-45 seconds.  Add peanut butter and stir into the mixture.  When it reaches a deep brown color, add water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Stir in cumin and chili powder.  Let simmer for five minutes.  Proceed to enchilada assembly.


  1. Thanks! I've been looking for a brown sauce to use with my cheese enchiladas for a long time. I'm from Houston and can't get good brown gravy here in LA at any restaurant. FINALLY!! The peanut butter really works!

  2. omg...i feel the same way, from texas live in la now and no brown sauce over here...will try!

  3. I made these a few days ago, did have to sub King Aurther gluten free all purpose flour, but was super happy THEY WERE AMAZING!!!!!! Thank you so much search for so long for great brown sauce. Now we know why they won't tell you what is in the sauce, they know no one will ever guess peanut butter.

  4. Omg, peanut butter! Excellent sauce.

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  6. Mine wad overly salty....and not quite what I wanted, but decent nonetheless. Also wasn't thick enough but I can fix that! This is a good start!

  7. This was delicious. I detest tomato sauce so brown sauce was perfect. Can't taste the peanut butter at all.

  8. I am from Springfield, Mo we have Mexican Villa located close to MSU and they have the BEST ever enchilada with brown sauce, for over forty years when I go to Springfield I have to go there, have never had anything close to this appetizing "dish", I am going to try your brown sauce, they also use a sweet white cheese and their soft corn tacos are the best ever as well.Thanks for this recipe. CMT

  9. I have been looking so long for a brown enchilada sauce. My husband is so happy. This is perfect. Thank you.

  10. I had to put taco seasoning in mine. The taste was horrible. I was also lacking cumin so that could be why.when I added the taco seasoning it was great!. I didn't have near enough sauce though. Next time I would definitely double it.

  11. Made this last night! I have been searching so long for a brown gravy recipe. I misread the oil amount so mine was a little clumpy. I used a gluten-free flour and it thickened up great. I did add a little pepper as to try to emulate the restaurant where I get these enchiladas. It's close enough for me to not have to drive 2 hours for great enchiladas. Thank you so much!!