We’re creating a new Guideposts.org

It’s faster, it’s mobile friendly—and we’d love you to have a sneak peekClick here to preview

New Mexican Flat Enchiladas

A Southwestern dish with deep family roots.

By Harriette Chavez, Garland, Texas

As appeared in

This traditional dish can be as spicy or as mild as you like.

A fried egg is the finishing touch to a "flat" enchilada! Note: The enchilada sauce can stain counters, clothing, plastic bowls, so be careful with spills.


Enchilada Sauce
½ c. chile powder (New Mexican, if possible)½ tsp. oregano
1 c. cold water1 tsp. coriander
1 16-oz. can tomato sauce1 tsp. cumin
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped1 tsp. salt

1 lb. tender steak, pork or chicken, cut into 1-inch cubes½ lb. Mexican blend grated cheese
4 Tbsp. cooking oil for frying½ head lettuce, shredded
1 garlic clove, minced1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste4 eggs
1 doz. white corn tortillas 


Enchilada Sauce
1. Put all ingredients in large saucepan and stir until well mixed. Simmer on low for 15 minutes. Adding more tomato sauce will give a milder flavor.

Note: For more traditional sauce, use 12 cascabel chile pods instead of the chile powder. Remove stems and some of the seeds. (The more seeds you leave in the pods, the hotter the sauce will be.) Place pods in saucepan with 6 cups boiling water and 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside for 1 hour. Blend softened chiles and balance of ingredients on high in blender for 5 minutes.

1. Brown meat in 1 tablespoon oil with garlic, salt and pepper. Reheat enchilada sauce if necessary and add cooked meat to sauce.

2. Heat remaining oil and fry all tortillas about a minute each side (tortillas should be soft, not crisp). Drain on paper towels.

3. Fry eggs over easy.

4. Layer one tortilla, about ¼ cup sauce and some shredded cheese; repeat with second layer. For top layer add tortilla, sauce, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, chopped onion (if desired) and top with egg.

Serves 4

Read about the family traditions behind this dish!