Primal Beef Enchiladas

EnchiladasEnchiladas are often a mess of ingredients in a casserole pan, the two main ingredients being tortillas and a heavy blanket of cheese. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In this Primal enchilada recipe, it’s all about the meat.

Chuck roast is slow-cooked with fresh tomatoes and dried chiles. The result is tender, shredded beef and a thick, mildly spicy sauce. Serve in a bowl with avocado, green onion and other garnishes, or spoon the beef onto Primal tortillas. Either way, Primal enchiladas are a filling and healthy meal.

Set aside an hour for cooking and then walk away while the meat and sauce do their thing in the oven. Ancho chiles give the sauce a smoky, earthy flavor and are only mildly spicy. They can be found at most grocery stores. If you want a sauce with more kick, chop up a hot pepper and throw it in the pot, too.

Serves: 4 to 6

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour, plus 4 hours in the oven



  • 2 Ancho chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock (350 ml)
  • 4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast (1800 g)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (10 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (2.5 ml)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (2.5 ml)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (5 ml)
  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (680 g)
  • Garnishes: avocado, green onion, sautéed green bell peppers, sour cream, cotija cheese


To soften the chiles, boil them in the beef stock for 10 minutes.

Ancho Chile

Use a scissors or knife to cut the chiles into thin strips. Set the chiles and stock aside.

In a small bowl mix together the salt, pepper and cumin.

Cut the roast into 4 or 5 pieces. Rub the salt mixture all over the meat.

Melt the coconut oil in a wide Dutch oven or heavy oven-proof saucepot. When the pot is hot, add the pieces of roast (you might have to do this in batches), browning each piece of meat well on all sides. This will take about 10 minutes total for each piece of roast.

Remove the meat from the pot and turn the heat down to medium. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes or more, until the onion begins to soften.

While the onions and garlic cook, preheat the oven to 325 ºF (163 ºC)

Scrape the onions and garlic into a blender. Add the chiles and beef stock and oregano. Blend until smooth. Add salt to taste.

Add the enchilada sauce back to the pot. Add the tomatoes and their juice.

Add Tomatoes

Bring to a boil, using a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits of meat that have stuck to the bottom.

Add the meat back to the pot, cover with a lid, and transfer to the oven. Braise for 4 hours, until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick.


Serve the meat in a bowl with garnishes or on top of Primal tortillas.

*This recipe has not been tested in a slow cooker, but you can give it try on low heat for about 8 hours.



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35 thoughts on “Primal Beef Enchiladas”

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  1. This looks like a tasty dish. However, beef enchilada is a misnomer. A better approximation might be ”beef adobada”.

    1. Since the technical genie is out of the bottle, the technique of roasting is a dry cooking method. Covering the dish with a lid and with this amount of liquid would fall under a braise, a mixture of dry (searing) and wet (the cover keeps the moisture in). If the meat itself is submerged it would be stewing. Either way, delicious! (What can I say? I read the book, “Ruhlman’s Twenty”).

      1. An enchilada is actually a corn tortilla fried, then dipped in red chile, chile ancho, so it doesn’t crack, then you put cotija cheese(crumbling cheese) with chopped onions, then you roll it like a cigar:),, then place it on the plate and make about 50 more,,, With crema mexicana on the side, and salsa picante….

    2. Yes. Looks delicious. But not anything like enchiladas. If you rolled the filling in some sort of Primal/Paleo tortilla and put some (not necessarily a ton of) good cheese on top, then it would be enchiladas.

      I would roll in sprouted organic corn tortillas, add pastured, aged cheddar, and have for fiesta, not every day.

    3. Haha, yes, agreed, I was looking for the rest of the recipe! It’s just stewed meat. Just one of the ingredients of enchiladas. Simply rename the dish to Mexican Style Stewed Meat. That will be much better. Thanks for the recipe though.

  2. Sounds delicious! Add a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of cheese that melts on top; perfection!

    (I stay away from all flour recipes, no matter how ‘safe’/’primal’ they are.)

    1. Gwen I think your missing the point! Judging from the picture I am correct

  3. Never underestimate ancho chilis. The depth of flavor they give is divine.

  4. Hey Mark,
    Why not post something other than dinner EVERY Saturday! For those who don’t work this is great, but us that do work don’t want to microwave our food. Breakfast or lunch sometimes buddy!

    1. I would totally eat this for breakfast. I don’t like microwaves either, so I take cold things for lunch like salads, fruit, nuts, cold meat, coconut flour muffins, etc. Chicken drumsticks/soup/leftover/steak/whatever all make for a nice breakfast, and I often have eggs for dinner. My stomach knows no time of day. Unless I’m jetlagged and sneaking meals at three in the morning.

  5. It really doesn’t take that much longer to put something in a pot or pan and heat it than to stick it in the microwave. I never use a microwave, I haven’t owned one for a year so far. If I need a lunch for work and would like something hot, I heat it on the stove and stick it in a thermos.

    That said, I mostly eat cold leftovers because I tend to enjoy snacking during the day and it’s nice to reach in the fridge real quick and pull out a little piece of cold meat/portion of veggie I cooked the day before!

  6. Looks delicious but it’s not enchiladas. The reason the word “enchilada” is feminine is because it refers to “tortillas enchiladas” or tortillas in chile sauce. They can be served with any kind of meat or none. Also, there are typically no tomatoes in enchiladas. What you have here is closer to “birria de res,” a fantastically primal Mexican dish that’s also great with goat or lamb. It’s usually reserved for a special weekend meal.

  7. These look awesome. Gonna have to give these a try…whatever they are called 😉

  8. I made this today. Stepped out to run some errands and when I came back the housed smelled incredible. The finished product lived up to the great smell. This will be lunch and dinner for a couple days.

  9. This describes a braise, not a roast. Roast is dry method, as noted in a comment above. Further, a roast is a dry method in which heat is primarily transferred by radiation. A braise has a component of radiation and convection and some conduction.

  10. Oh for crying out loud. Who cares if it’s a braise or a roast or a whatever? Just cook it and eat it.

  11. i did this in the slow cooker today as i had lots of errands to run and man oh man did it turn out delicious. and to the comments above…one of the first things i thought of after taking my first bite was how good this would taste with a fried egg (particularly a duck egg).

  12. Just put it in the oven! Sampling all the way through the prep…everything was delicious. yummm The only change, I halved the recipe and substituted a can of organic fire roasted tomatoes for fresh; the farmer’s market was out of fresh today. Can’t wait til it comes out of the oven in a few hours.

  13. The ingredients do not include coconut oil but it is included in the directions. How much coconut oil is required? Thanks!

    1. I would guess a couple of Tblsp would be enough. You are just using it to brown the meat and cook the onions and garlic. BTW, garlic loses some potency as it cooks, so if you want more galric flavor, then add the garlic just before the onions are done.

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