Had a can (yes, a can!) of whole roasted, peeled green chiles that was nearing its expiration date. We generally use canned chiles only when we need a consistency of flavor and heat, like in competition dishes.
Well, I've always thought that there should be a green chile dish to compete with good ol' mac & cheese, so why not give it a shot? We ended up with a casserole that can be eaten for breakfast or any other time of the day, and does great as a southwestern side dish.
It doesn't come in a blue box and cook on the stovetop in 10 minutes, but I'll match it up to that stuff all day!
southwestern seasoning (or taco/burrito seasoning for 1 pound of meat)
new mexico green chiles, roasted, peeled, split and seeded, firmly patted dry with paper towels (if you don't have your own stash, a 27-ounce can of whole roasted peeled green chiles should be just about right)
Lightly grease or spray a 9"x13"x2" metal baking pan. Get out another pan at least a couple inches longer and/or wider than the first into to use for the bain marie (water bath). Put 2 quarts of water on to boil for the bain marie. Once you've completed step 2, adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt the lard. Add the onion and cook them, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until they are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the beef and chorizo to the pan, breaking them up into small pieces an incorporating the onions and garlic into them. Cook the meats, stirring and continuing to break them up, until just browned.
(See "Step 1" for prep) Stir in the Southwestern seasoning and water and simmer the mixture for 30 minutes. Drain the mixture very thoroughly (I use a fine strainer and then a large bowl lined with paper towels). (Note: If you do not thoroughly drain the meat mixture, you will end up with grease in the bottom of your casserole.)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs until they are well combined. Set this aside for a moment. (Note: I used more of each than the picture shows.)
(Note: If you do not firmly pat the chiles dry, you will end up with water in the bottom of your casserole.) In your prepared baking pan, cover the bottom with half your green chiles. Add half the milk mixture, then half the meat mixture and then the pepper jack cheese. Repeat the procedure, this time using the cheddar cheese on top.
Open the oven and pull out the rack. Place your larger pan on the rack and your casserole inside that. Carefully pour the boiling water around the outside of your casserole until it is nearly as deep as the ingredients in the casserole. Carefully push in the rack and close the oven door. Bake the casserole until it has firmed through, about 45 minutes. When you stick a wooden toothpick into the center, it should come out almost (but not quite) clean.
Very carefully remove the whole thing from the oven and put it on a rack to start cooling. Let it rest for 20 minutes. Now you can remove the casserole from the water bath and serve it up. Pass around some table salsa and/or hot sauce (I like Cholula® or Tapatio® with this, but Frank's® or Tabasco® will work fine.)
- You can make the meat mixture (steps 2 & 3) a day or 3 in advance, storing it in the 'fridge.
- Seriously - You need to pat those green chiles dry.
- If you make the whole casserole and then refrigerate it, be sure to let it come up to room temperature before baking it. If you don't, by the time the center finally gets done, the outer portion will be over-cooked.