1In a heavy skillet, brown ground beef and crumble well. Pour off fat.
2Stir in Ro-Tel and chili powder (and Sazón Azafran if using). Simmer mixture for 5 minutes; set aside and cool to room temperature.
3Optional: Stir in 1 can corn or beans, drained well.
4In medium bowl, stir masa harina and salt SLOWLY into the cool water. (If boiling water and cornbread mix was used, stir and set pan in large bowl of ice water.) Beat until it reaches room temperature (this will be thick) and mixture is smooth.
When corn batter has cooled, beat in eggs, melted butter or oil, and enough milk or buttermilk to make a thick batter like cake batter. It should drop from the spoon in dollops, not pour. If too thin, you can stir in a couple tablespoons flour or masa harina to get the thick batter.
5In a 2-3 quart greased baking dish, spread half the masa harina mixture evenly over bottom. Spoon meat filling evenly over. Top with the shredded cheese.
6Finally, spoon remaining masa harina evenly over top of all and smooth out with back of spoon.
7Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, until masa harina is cooked and lightly browned. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing.
If you have about half of the casserole left over:
Place leftover casserole in a baking dish that fits. Top with one can of chili, 1 cup crushed Fritos corn chips, and 1 cup shredded cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350° for 30-45 minutes until very hot and cheese is melted. So good!
9NEW NOTE On the Masa Harina: I had to buy a new brand of Masa Harina because my store stopped carrying the old one. This one was labeled INSTANT Masa (corn) flour for tortillas, tamales, etc. It uses COLD water, not hot. I used the boiling like I always do with regular cornmeal, and got a very thick lump. I had to beat and beat to get it smooth enough to spread. So watch what type of Masa flour you get. Boiling water works fine with cornmeal, but use cold water on the instant masa harina.