Beef Tamale Casserole

IMG_9154IMG_9145Beef Tamale Casserole
adapted from Jo Cooks

Ingredients

For Cornbread

  • 1 package Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 14.75 oz cream style corn (1 can)
  • 4-oz can diced green chiles (or chopped Hatch chiles)

For Beef

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder (I use half ancho, half NM)
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Casserole

  • 1 (10-oz) can enchilada sauce
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded cheese shredded (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or blend)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Optional Toppings: sour cream, avocado, fresh sliced or pickled jalapenos, salsa, hot sauce

Method

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Add the Jiffy mix, egg, and milk to a medium bowl and whisk together. Stir in the creamed corn and the green chiles.  Pour the cornbread mixture into a large ovenproof skillet or a 9×9 inch baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges are golden and the cornbread is done.

Meanwhile, in another medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, oregano, chile powder, salt, and pepper and stir. Cook until the onion has softened, another 3 to 5 minutes. Add half of the enchilada sauce to the meat mixture and stir. Set aside.

When the cornbread is done, poke holes all over the top with a fork. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the cornbread and spread. Top with the ground beef and the shredded cheese. Bake the casserole for another 15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and has started to lightly brown on top.

Let cool for about 5 minutes, then top cilantro and other toppings, as desired.

NOTES

This is the third recipe for “tamale casserole” I have tried and by far our favorite. I don’t know if it’s that it uses ground beef (as opposed to chicken), that the enchilada sauce is 50/50 in the beef and the cornbread instead of 100% poured into the cornbread, or that I cooked it in a cast iron skillet instead of a pan. But the minute we dove into this one, I knew I had finally found the keeper. Awesome dish.

 

Carne Guisada

IMG_3010Carne Guisada
with thanks to My Cocina, My Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sirloin or chuck steak OR pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 serrano pepper, slightly toasted, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano (regular is fine)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups beef or chicken broth

Method

Dredge the cubed meat in flour, coating well.

In a heavy, deep-sided skillet or Dutch oven, add the oil and heat over medium heat. Add the meat and brown thoroughly, stirring often.

While the meat is browning, in a small saute pan, toast the cumin seeds and then add them to the molcajete (mortar and pestle). Use the same pan to toast the serrano pepper.

In a molcajete which already has the cumin, add the garlic, and black peppercorns. Grind into a paste. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir (this is to make sure you remove all the paste from the molcajete) and set aside.

Once the meat is browned, add the garlic, comino and peppercorn paste and liquid from molcajete to the pot. Add the onion, tomato, cilantro, serrano, oregano,  paprika, chili powder, and salt and saute for 3 to 4 minutes.

Add broth, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the mixture has cooked down to a thick sauce.

NOTES

THIS DISH. This dish is a distinct food memory of my younger years. Steve’s sister used to make this from time to time when we were young and dating and we were living with his family. We loved it so so much and WHY OH WHY did I wait so long to make this myself??

This was even better than I imagined it would be. Savory, spicy, and near-addictively good. I made it the first time with chuck steak, the second time with pork shoulder. Both outstanding. Served with rice, tortillas, and avocado for dinner and with rice and a fried egg for lunch the next day. Incredible, all the way around.

Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos

img_7025Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos
(courtesy of Belly Full, serves 6)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 jar (16 ounce) salsa verde
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced thin
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

For serving:

  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • Monterey jack cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Avocado, diced
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Limes, sliced

Method

Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high. Season the beef with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Add to the pan and cook for 3 minutes, per side, to a nice golden brown.

Transfer meat to the slow cooker; add the salsa, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

Shred the meat with 2 forks and stir with the liquid.

Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place some of the meat in each tortilla, topped with some cheese, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.

NOTES

Amazing tacos with just a few ingredients and a few minutes of effort. I was genuinely blown away by how good these were. Totally going in my back pocket for future party menus!

Spicy Beef Taquitos

img_2513img_4519Spicy Beef Taquitos

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 large jalapeno, stemmed and seeded ,very finely diced
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon New Mexico chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup chunky salsa
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 ounces roasted hatch chiles, finely chopped (or sub 4-oz can diced green chiles)
  • 3 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 10 small flour tortillas
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Method

Heat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and then lightly mist it with cooking spray and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add beef and cook, breaking into very small chunks with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink. Add jalapeno, onion, and garlic to the pan and cook until jalapeno and onion are tender, about 2-3 minutes. Add spices, salsa, sour cream, and hatch chiles. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the shredded cheese. Stir to combine.

Warm the tortillas in the microwave for 20-30 seconds until they are warm and pliable. Distribute filling, roll, place on baking sheet. Spray the tops of the taquitos lightly with cooking spray. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes until tortillas are dark golden and crispy.

NOTES

I made these two weeks in a row and am probably going for a third. Steve says I need to put them on the weekly menu from now to infinity. Seriously, they are that good. Contemplating trying them with pulled pork or shredded chicken next.

Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

IMG_0529.JPG

Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb bulk Mexican chorizo (I use my homemade version)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (preferably fresh)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced (plus 1/4 cup minced, for garnish)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Pinch off about 1.5 tablespoons of filling and roll it into a ball about 1 inch in diameter. Repeat until you have made about 30 meatballs. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, until cooked through and sizzling.

Remove from oven. Serve over Spanish rice.

NOTES

Pretty much every time Steve and I ate my Albondigas Soup, one or both of us would say “you know, at some point, we should just have these meatballs by themselves over Spanish rice.” Obvious yet brilliant. So I finally did it and oh man, what an awesome little meal. Proud of this one.

Spanish Rice

img_3461Spanish Rice

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups water or chicken broth
  • 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce

Method

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. Add the rice and saute until golden brown. Add the onion, garlic, and seasonings and continue to saute for a couple more minutes. Add the water/broth and the tomato sauce. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until rice is cooked.

Remove from heat and let stand for 15 minutes, still covered, then fluff rice with a fork. Serve.

NOTES

For some reason, since moving back to Texas in 2011, I have had major Spanish rice problems. I made it fine for years in California but could not get it to work here. Most of the time, it came out undercooked and on the rare occasions when I didn’t, it was a big pan of soft mush.

But recently, through a lot of trial and error, weighing my ingredients, deleting another ingredient, and paying close attention to the browning process, I finally – FINALLY – have a Spanish rice recipe that works consistently again. I seriously cannot express how happy this makes me. A years-long kitchen fail and I conquered it. Yeah baby.

Creamy Salsa Chicken

IMG_0518.JPGIMG_0513.JPG
Creamy Salsa Chicken
adapted from Dinners, Dishes & Desserts

Ingredients

  • 1-1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups salsa
  • 1 cup stock or water
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish

Method

In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown chicken for 4-5 minutes until no longer pink. Add onion and saute for another 2-3 minutes until onion is soft and chicken is cooked through. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add seasonings, salsa, water, and corn to the pan and stir to combine. Turn heat down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the sour cream and lime juice. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.

NOTES

My kind of meal: one pan, 20 minutes, simple, totally delicious. I served it over Spanish rice with a warmed, rolled up corn tortilla on the side. This one is definitely going on repeat!