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mexican essentials: hybrid beef/cheese casserole

a recipe by
Andy Anderson !
Wichita, KS

Served this on (Cinco De Mayo), as one of the items for a little party. I call it hybrid, because it has a few ingredients in it that are, shall we say, not strictly South-of-Border fare. Even though, it was not “strictly” a traditional Mexican dish, it was still one of the more popular dishes at the fiesta. I made three of them, and there were no leftovers. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

serves Several
prep time 40 Min
cook time 20 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For mexican essentials: hybrid beef/cheese casserole

  • 1 1/2 lb
    ground beef, i used freshly-ground chuck
  • 1 md
    yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp
    dehydrated onions, ground
  • 1 clove
    garlic, minced
  • 14 oz
    diced, fire-roasted tomatoes, with juice, 1 can
  • 10 oz
    enchilada sauce, homemade, if possible
  • 2 tsp
    ground cumin
  • black pepper, to taste
  • salt, kosher variety, to taste
  • 10 oz
    refried beans
  • 2 oz
    parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 4 oz
    sliced black olives, 1 small can
  • 4 oz
    cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 oz
    pepper jack cheese, freshly grated
  • corn or flour tortillas, for serving
  • rice, for serving, i made lime-flavored rice
  • sour cream, for serving
  • lemon wedges, for serving

How To Make mexican essentials: hybrid beef/cheese casserole

  • 1
  • 2
    I created this recipe because I wanted one more dish for my Cinco De Mayo party; however, since time was short, I went with items on hand. I was going to make it into a Mexican Lasagna, using flour tortillas for the layers. Unfortunately, cooking them with the casserole would create a doughy, goopy mess. I thought of rice, and corn tortillas; even using regular lasagna noodles. I finally, dropped the idea of making it into a lasagna, and opted instead to make a nice flavorful casserole, and allow my guests to scoop some out and decide for themselves what they wanted to eat it on… success.
  • 3
    If you are in the market for a good enchilada sauce, here is my favorite:
  • 4
    If you are grinding your own beef, use the large holes on the grinder plate. If you are purchasing it from the butcher, ask for “chili grind” beef. It is a bit coarser, and gives the casserole more of a hardier texture.
  • 5
    A skillet big enough to hold all of the ingredients. An ovenproof dish, to bake it in.
  • 6
    Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  • 7
    Use a spice grinder, or mortar and pestle, to grind up the dehydrated onions.
  • 8
    Add the ground beef, chopped onions, and dehydrated onions to a skillet over medium-low heat.
  • 9
    Cook the ingredients, stirring often, until the beef is cooked through (no pink), and the chopped onions are soft, about 12 – 15 minutes.
  • 10
    Chef’s Note: Why regular onions and dehydrated onion? Well, dehydrated onions bring an “earthy” taste to a recipe that you cannot get from using just regular onions alone. If you do not have any, no worries, just leave them out.
  • 11
    Add the garlic, and stir for an additional 60 seconds.
  • 12
    Add the tomatoes, enchilada sauce, and cumin, stir, reduce the heat to low, then allow to slowly simmer, for about 20 minutes.
  • 13
    Chef’s Note: This slow cooking method serves two important purposes: 1. It helps to blend the flavors of the ingredients together. 2. It reduces the liquid to make a thicker sauce.
  • 14
    Do a final tasting for proper seasoning, and add a bit of salt and pepper, if you feel it is warranted.
  • 15
  • 16
    Place a rack in the middle position, and preheat the oven to 375f (190c).
  • 17
    Add refried beans to the bottom of a standard deep-dish, ovenproof pie pan, or similar round, or rectangular dish.
  • 18
    Add the parmesan cheese, and sprinkle with half the black olives.
  • 19
    Add the hot, ground-beef filling and top with the cheddar, and pepper jack.
  • 20
    Place into the preheated oven, and cook until the cheese is bubbly, and some of the filling begins to ooze up through the cheese, about 15 – 20 minutes.
  • 21
  • So yummy
    Allow to rest for 10 minutes, sprinkle on the remaining black olives, and serve up with some warm tortillas, and rice, with some sour cream, and lime slices on the side. Perhaps a nice pitcher of Bonnie’s Ultimate Margaritas: Enjoy.
  • So yummy
    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

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