The Pioneer Woman’s Enchilada Recipe Uses a Polarizing Ingredient


The Pioneer Woman, also known as Ree Drummond, has been a mainstay in the food and lifestyle realms for over a decade. His simple, friendly style and his relatable way of preparing meals for the whole family have made him a favorite not only for Food Network’s audience, but for culinary devotees of all ages and interests.

While Drummond is sometimes rebuked by critics for her habit of using certain “store-bought” ingredients, such as canned soup, her fans love that she offers a shortcut solution for busy families. One of Drummond’s fan-favorite dishes is his method for preparing enchiladas, a classic Tex-Mex staple. However, Drummond’s version includes at least one ingredient that made the recipe a little divisive.

Drummond is famous for making easy, family recipes

Drummond first exploded onto the culinary scene in 2010 with the widespread popularity of his blog, leading lady. Drummond, who had been blogging for several years before rising to almost cult popularity, gained one of those people who loved country living, homeschooling, animal husbandry and, of course, cooking.

By 2011, Drummond’s cooking show had debuted on the Food Network, introducing him to a new audience of fans.

Drummond’s cooking style has remained largely unchanged over the years, even though he has ventured into low-carb cooking a few times. She likes to stick to recipes that are simple, guaranteed hits for families and those with young children. Many of Drummond’s recipes include shortcut ingredients, and most of his popular recipes can be prepared in about 45 minutes or less.

Drummond’s enchiladas are a savory favorite

Ree Drummond | Brian Bader / Getty Images for Hearst

In 2008, Drummond shared a recipe for enchiladas on his blog. The recipe has since become a Pioneer Woman staple and one that many people embrace when they need to prepare a simple, savory dinner.

The sauce for enchiladas is made by mixing a can of store-bought enchilada sauce (either red or green) with some additional spices and chicken broth in a saucepan. While the sauce is simmering, the stewed beef, onion and green chili filling is cooked on the stove.

When filling and sauce are done, prepare enchiladas by stuffing corn tortillas with meat, shredded cheese, diced olives, and green onions. Place the filled enchiladas in a pan and pour the sauce over them. After baking in a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, remove the enchiladas from the oven and sprinkle with some fresh, chopped cilantro.

Olives Are Not a Traditional Ingredient for Enchiladas

There’s no doubt that Drummond’s enchilada recipe is delicious, but for some hardcore traditionalists, it’s hardly true Tex-Mex. Enchiladas have been a staple in Mexican cuisine for many decades, and over the years, there have been many variations on the original recipe, possibly including corn tortillas and a simple meat filling. Often, enchiladas are made with cheese only as a filling, and beans are often included in some form. One thing that is not included in most traditional enchilada recipes is olives.

Traditionalists might be hesitant to include olives in Drummond’s recipe—but the cookbook author added a note to his recipe, saying that cooks shouldn’t be afraid to try them in enchiladas: “If you hate black olives, you can try them out.” If they are, don’t be distracted by its presence in this dish. You’ll hardly know they’re there—they’ll just add a tangy saltiness and texture that will really take the enchiladas over the top. Please. Please don’t be afraid.”

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