I like mixing things up every once in awhile. I get bored of eating the same thing over and over (except maybe pasta. okay and pizza in Italy). Not everyone in my family is like this. A few years ago I went away for a few days. I returned and asked my son what he and dad had eaten the few days I was gone. “Tacos”, he replied. “What else?” I asked. “Just tacos”. It obviously works for some people.
We do see a lot of tacos around these parts. And so the other day when I was thinking of something new to taste test, I thought about turning the beloved taco into a casserole.
My mom made a recipe similar to this all through my childhood called California Casserole. I still love it, but it’s a little more Tex-Mex than taco-ish or Mexican-ish so I thought I’d try and make mine more local to where I live, while still using ingredients that are easy to find where most of you reading live. One day I’ll blog that casserole too, although I think I’ll call it Mexican Lasagna. (Let’s see if I remember this and actually do it).
This casserole is a little like lasagna actually, with the layers, so it does take a little more time than just a one-pot casserole, but it’s worth it. I ever-so-lightly fry my corn tortillas to keep them from getting super soggy.
See those nice little bits of brown? Perfect.
In all actuality, I prefer flour tortillas, and you can use those if you prefer, but for this casserole, corn tastes better with the other ingredients. Also, even if I buy the worst grocery store tortillas here, they’re still better than the pre-packaged flour ones.
I added corn because i would add it to everything if possible, but hubby isn’t a big fan, so I added a minimal cup so that he didn’t have too much to complain about! Add more if you like.
Happy Taco Tuesday everyone!
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 2 TAB chili powder
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1 poblano pepper, diced (can substitute green pepper)
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- 28 oz. can tomatoes, diced
- 1 TAB sugar
- 1 cup corn (optional)
- 20 ounce can re-fried beans
- about 3 cups Manchego cheese (mozzarella is fine)
- about 20 small corn tortillas
- vegetable oil for frying
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 green onions, diced
Heat a large skillet to medium heat. Add ground beef, chili powder, salt and pepper and brown meat in batches until cooked. Set aside
Add a little oil to the skillet, then add onion, garlic, and poblano pepper and cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar and let simmer about 10-15 minutes. Add meat and corn and let simmer another 10 minutes or so.
In another skillet, heat a little oil on medium heat. Lightly fry each tortilla until slightly crispy, and set aside to train on paper towel. Repeat until all tortillas are done, using only as much oil as necessary.
In a 13×9 casserole dish, scoop out enough of the sauce to thinly cover the bottom of the dish. Layer 6 tortillas on top of the meat. They should overlap slightly. Spread half the can of refried beans, then sprinkle with 1/3 of the cheese, then 1/3 of the remaining sauce. Repeat with one more layer: tortillas, beans, cheese, sauce. Add a third layer of tortillas and then top casserole with remaining sauce and cheese.
Bake in a 350° oven for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Remove from oven. Top with green onions. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
Great served with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream.