Guatemalan Enchilada, “Jardineras”

Serves     20 tostadas


Component 1: Tostadas
20 corn tortillas
2 T. oil


Component 2: Sauce
3 tomatoes
½ white onion
4 cloves garlic
Water (to boil)
2 T. oil
1 bay leaf
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Component 3: Pickled vegetable “curtido”
¼ head of cabbage, julienned
4 carrots, julienned
Green beans, a dozen, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces
Red beets, boiled and julienned
1 cup vinegar
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Component 4: Beef mixture
2 lbs. ground beef
½ onion, finely diced
1 tomato, diced
1 bouillon cube
1 t. olive oil
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


Component 5: Garnishes
Lettuce – whole leaves, washed and patted dry
5 boiled eggs, sliced on the cross section
1 cup queso fresco (substitute ricotta salata or crumbled feta)
1 bunch parsley, diced


Component 1: Tostadas

(Tostadas are traditionally deep-fried, and one can certainly prepare them similarly. I however, baked them in the oven.)

Prepare them ideally not too long before they are to be served.

Preheat oven to 400F.

Line a baking tray with parchment and arrange corn tortillas side by side without overlapping.

Brush both sides lightly with oil.

Bake 4 minutes per side until they are crispy but not browning. (They will crisp up some more as they cool).

Remove from tray and cool.


Component 2: Sauce

Add tomatoes, half an onion, and garlic in water and boil until tomato is tender (about 10 minutes).

Drain and allow to cool. Once tomatoes are cool to the touch, peel tomato skin.

Puree the tomato, onion and garlic until smooth. Add to pan with oil, bay leaf and sauté until the mixture thickens and caramelizes. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Component 3: Pickled vegetable “curtido”

Blanch cabbage, carrots, and green beans.

Add all the vegetables, vinegar, salt and pepper and allow to sit for a few hours or overnight (in the refrigerator) to pickle.

(For a shortcut: substitute a coleslaw mix, 1 bag for the cabbage and carrots. I pickled the coleslaw mix, green beans, and beets separately to allow for even more customization.)


Component 4: Beef mixture

Add oil to a pan and when hot add the meat and brown. Remove the meat from the pan and set aside. To the pan drippings add onion and sauté until golden brown. Add diced tomatoes and stir.

Mix in the bouillon cube and add salt and pepper to taste.

The beef mixture is ready when the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture is thickened.


Assembling the Enchilada

The traditional order followed in assembling the enchilada goes: tostada, lettuce, pickled vegetables, beef mixture, boiled egg slice, tomato sauce, parsley, and cheese. However, the beauty of this dish lies in how easily it lends itself to customization: omit the meat, egg, and cheese for a delicious vegan dish, or just skip anything that doesn’t tempt you.

¡Buen provecho!


Notes and Instructions

Recipe and photo credit: Vinola Munyon