So, remember how much I was disappointed in that Blue Cheese Chicken dish I made awhile back? Well, guess who’s back, baby?! This dish came out exactly as I thought it would and it was perfect!
Living in Dallas for 12 years gave me a strong appreciation and love for Mexican and spicy food. This dish isn’t so much spicy, but it is definitely Mexican – and definitely delicious. Well, probably not true Mexican food eaten in Mexico by Mexicans. But rather, something with Mexican influence, bastardized by suburban American culture. And you know what? I don’t have a problem with that.
I love this dish because it’s one of those dishes that is great to have during the week and it fills your home up with a delicious smell. You know when you’re having one of those weeks when you have a lot going on and there’s multiple things to deal with and work is all shitty? This is one of those meals to take refuge in. It calls for a lot of different ingredients, but nothing has to be exact. I borrowed the recipe from thepioneerwoman.com – and it was pointed out that you can add as little or as much of whatever you like – so go for what you like.
Start with making rice. I always keep the family size bag of plain white rice – this is a staple I always have on hand. You know, the kind they throw out of planes over 3rd world countries. Make it according to directions – but here’s a good tip – instead of using water, always use chicken broth when making rice. Always. ALWAYS. Got that, bubs?
Once the rice is made, chop up an onion, some garlic and tomatoes. Get this happy trio all chopped up and simmer it all down with some chili powder, cumin and paprika if you want. You probably don’t cook enough with paprika, so be sure you use it in this dish. After you have this simmered down and the spices incorporated, add the mixture to your rice. And you know what you have now? Spanish rice – how fun is that?! At this point, you can add black beans if you want (which I did), for funzies.
Now, using the same pan that you sweated the onions/garlic/tomatoes trio, start browning the ground beef. And with this, you can also add more of the chili powder/cumin/paprika trio. Another delicious trio – how bout that? And you know what you have when you cook those spices in with ground beef? Taco beef! Those clever Mexicans – can you say ‘adobe‘?
Now that we have these anchor ingredients ready, it’s time to start layering up. Start by pouring in a small jar of salsa verde, to cover the bottom of a glass casserole container. On top of this, add some flour tortillas, layered on top of each other. On top of the tortillas, spread around a nice layer of the Spanish rice you just made. Next, add a layer of cheese. Note – this is not the time to skimp on the cheese. You know that deadline that you’ve had at work – and NO ONE has given you a break? That needs a lot of cheese, don’t you think? Use whatever cheese you like – for these types of dishes, I like to use layers of different cheeses – monterey, cheddar, usually one of those mexican blends. Good stuff.
Top this layer of cheese with another layer of tortillas. And on top of these tortillas – add a layer of burrito sauce. Pour it all on there as you think about how you should have responded to that snarky email last week.
From here, add a big ole layer of your seasoned ground beef. The burrito sauce will blend nicely with the meat here. On top of the ground beef, add a generous layer of corn. Yes, there are thousands and thousands of uses for corn, all of which I will tell you about right now!
And you know what else I added at this point? A thin layer of green chilis. There’s something about green chilis – using them in different things adds a whole other dimension of flavor for me. I just love them and feel like I can’t get enough of them.
Top this off with the rest of your rice mixture, any more seasoned ground beef you might have, perhaps some more salsa verde if you have that and finish with another layer of cheese. When have you ever had lasagna without a lot of cheese? Why should Mexican Lasagna be any different? Now bake this bad boy at 375 for a good 30ish minutes. Until the cheese is browned and bubbling up on the sides.
It’s true there a lot of flavors going on here – but they come together, weaving a beautiful Mexican blanket of love. Ready to provide culinary comfort and protection from those triflin’ frenemies at work. Can you say ‘adobe’? Enjoy!