In the past I've used beef strips which have not rendered the desired results - we used to frequent Pepe's Mexican restaurant at Milton as newly weds* and the texture just wasn't the same. They never used ground/minced beef either... it was shredded. Thanks to Member Chef Jackie who told me how create shredded beef! Ta muchly Jackie!


  • 1 whole piece of blade, chuck or skirt - around the 2kg mark

  • for the rub

  • 1 dessertspoon coriander

  • 2 dessertspoons cumin

  • 1 tsp cayenne

  • 2 dessertspoons paprika

  • for the sauce

  • 1 dessertspoon coriander

  • 2 dessertspoons cumin

  • 1-2 tsp chilli, minced/diced

  • 1 tsp cayenne

  • 1 dessertspoon black pepper

  • 2 dessertspoons paprika

  • 300ml tomato passata

  • 1 tin diced tomatoes

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 2 brown onions, finely diced

  • 1 red onion, finely diced

  • olive oil

  • tap water or stock

  • corn tortillas

  • 200ml tomato passata

  • grated extra tasty cheddar (we really like NZ Mainland Tasty)

  • Sliced spring onions

  • Spiced Mexican Rice

  • refried beans


  • 1.

    To roast the meat prior to shredding:

  • 2.

    Preheat oven to 160DegC.

  • 3.

    Mix 'rub' ingredients together in a small bowl.

  • 4.

    Generously rub/smear it all over each side of the meat.

  • 5.

    Place it into a lightly greased lidded casserole dish with a splash of cold water and place the lid on.

  • 6.

    Slow roast, checking occasionally and turning the meat, for 3-5 hours. The longer it cooks at a lower temperature, the more easily it will shred.

  • 7.

    Using two forks, while the beef is still hot, separate the strands of meat, discarding any really gross fatty or gristly bits.

  • 8.

    To make the enchiladas:

  • 9.

    Preheat oven to 175DegC - not fan forced

  • 10.

    Using a large, heavy based casserole (I love my le Creuset for this type of cooking) gently saute the onions, garlic and all spices in a little olive oil.

  • 11.

    Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes on low heat to release the flavour of the spices.

  • 12.

    Add the passata & tomatoes and bring to a simmer.

  • 13.

    Add the shredded beef.

  • 14.

    If the mixture is very thick add 100-200ml water or stock.

  • 15.

    Bring to a simmer.

  • 16.

    Leave the lid off and place in the oven and allow to slow cook for around 2 hours.

  • 17.

    Check every half hour and if required, add a little more stock/water if sauce becomes too thick.

  • 18.

    To assemble:

  • 19.

    Dip each tortilla into the passata then fill with shredded beef/spice/sauce mix.

  • 20.

    Top filling with a little grated cheese.

  • 21.

    Roll up & place, seam side up, into a deep baking tray/dish.

  • 22.

    Continue with remaining tortillas until baking dish (es) are full.

  • 23.

    You will have sauce left over (hopefully, if you've been too generous with your stuffing, add some more passata to the sauce) spoon over each filled tortilla.

  • 24.

    Top with generous handfulls of grated cheese.

  • 25.

    Bake at 180DegC for around 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and beginning to brown.

  • 26.

    Spiced Mexican Rice:

  • 27.

    For my spiced rice I use my rice cooker, wash some basmati rice under cold water until most of the starch is removed.Place into rice cooker with equal quantity of cold water. Mix one packet of taco seasoning with some hot water and add to the rice. Stir well. Cook. Too easy.

  • 28.

    Once cooked, if I have some oven roasted capsicums in the fridge I'll chop some slices into small dice and toss through the rice together with a ½ cup finely chopped spring onions and ½ cup grated tasty cheddar. Just before serving, plate up the rice and nuke (to melt the cheese, if it hasn't already!) for 1 minute.

  • 29.

    Serve with spiced rice and/or refried beans (both of which deserve a goodly scattering of grated cheese as well), a dollop of sour cream and freshly chopped spring onions.


Slow roasting the beef the day before you want to make enchiladas is really the way to go - or it will become a marathon cooking session!
It's been bothering me for nearly 30 years that I couldn't replicate the texture of the Pepe's enchiladas... and after our lunch there yesterday, I think I've finally nailed it!
Great to see that after more than 33 years, this little restaurant is still going strong although if my memory serves, the portions were more generous, there certainly was a lot more cheese & sauce.
I miss the dreadful mural, the brown ceramic plates, the buzz & the heady aroma of their gorgeous steamed Mexican pudding (which I didn't have yesterday!)

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Posted by Report
Do you use normal coriander or ground coriander? How many tablespoons make a desert spoon?
Posted by jackicamReport
One of my cousins married a really lovely Mexican girl. The recipe she gave me has the flavours you use too but she uses a large piece of chuck or flank steak, rubs spices into it, wraps it in foil then slow bakes it for hours then shreds it and saute's it in the same kind of ingredients you're using. You definitely got the flavours right Philippa!
Posted by Philippa WightmanReport
Thanks for the tip Jackie! My butcher had a special on silverside so I bought 2... one I used for sandwich meat, the other was waiting for inspiration... which came in the form of unconventional enchiladas! lol