You’ve probably heard of enchiladas before, but you might be thinking about a rolled tortilla filled with chicken, or beef, topped with melted cheese and sauce, which is more of a Mexican enchilada. These enchiladas, our Guatemalan enchiladas, are made by topping a fried tortilla (called a Tostada) with lettuce, pickled beet and vegetable mix, ground beef and tomato sauce…and the last touch, a sprinkling of dried Guatemalan cheese (Queso Seco).
Historically, this dish dates back to the XVIII. Enchiladas do require some work, so it’s not a dish you regularly have at home. Thankfully, back at home we get to enjoy it pretty much every two months. this is one of the few ways that dad won’t get tired of eating his veggies. Thankfully, at my parent’s home we have Chila, who comes to help us with the kitchen, and is an expert when it comes to local food. So here you have it, Guatemalan Enchiladas!
2 lbs ground beef
2 chayotes (güisquil)
2 celery stalks
2 red bell peppers
1 head of garlic (adjust to your taste)
1 lb of green beans
2 bay leaves (dried)
½ a cabbage
½ lb onions
20 oz olive oil
10 oz white vinegar
10 lettuce leaves
3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
¼ cup dried Guatemalan Cheese (Queso Seco)
salt and pepper
- Some of the steps need to be made a day ahead, once these ingredients are ready you can start assembling the Enchilada. Those ingredients are the filling, the onion escabeche, vegetable mix and tomato sauce. The recipe calls for 1 head of garlic, which you will use in the filling recipe, in the vegetable mix recipe and the tomato sauce recipe. Feel free to adjust the garlic amount to your own personal taste.
- Chop one of the red bell peppers, with half of the green beans, half of the carrots, half of the chayotes, half of the garlic head (or your adjusted amount of garlic), and half of the cabbage. No onions, beets, celery or tomatoes here.
- Add a bit of oil to a large hot pan, and brown your beef.
- Season with salt and pepper and add all the chopped vegetables.
- Let it cook until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Cut onions into quarters, and then slice and separate the pieces.
- Mix olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
- Add onion rings and let them sit for at least 24 hrs in a covered jar.
- Julienne or chop the rest of the vegetables you had left over. You’ll use the remaining carrots, chayotes, garlic (to taste), and cabbage this time you’ll include the beets.
- Cook them in boiling water, with the 2 bay leaves, except for the beets. Those are cooked in a separate pot. Don’t over cook them, it should only take a few minutes.
- Mix the vegetables, and let them cool.
- Refrigerate and mix with the onion escabeche.
- Let this mixture rest for at least half a day.
- Cook the tomatoes, celery stalks and remaining red bell pepper and garlic (to taste).
- Pure in the blender, return to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste
- Take a tostada, cover with a lettuce leaf.
- Top the lettuce with the beef filling.
- Top this with the vegetable and escabeche mix.
- Next, top with tomato sauce.
- Decorate with a few sliced hard boiled egg, sprinkle with dried cheese, and chopped cilantro.
Source: Hotel Panamerican, Guatemala
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