Carne y Frijole Cazuela (Beef and Bean Casserole)

By  BOB ZIMORINO

This dish took me about 45 minutes start to finish and is one of my favorites

You are going to create two dishes here that can both be used on their own as well as together in this dish or others like it. Part of its’ efficiency is that you can prep all of the veggies at once.

The Beans: I used canned refried beans for this. You can use whatever you like but you need them to cook down to a paste like texture like refried beans are. I do use organic, and low salt preferring to dictate the salt content myself.

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AnaheimPeppers

The Peppers: There are four that I use. But only 3 at a time.

Anaheims: are about 6 inches long and are relatively sweet (as compared to hot) maybe a 2 out of 10 in heat.

Poblanos look like dark green and slightly waxy Bell Peppers. They are also about a 2 out of 10 for heat compared to a green pepper at 0 out of 10.

Jalapenos are commonly used to add heat to dishes. They are about a 4 out of 10. If you leave the seeds in the pepper of add them to the dish it will increase the heat.

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PoblanoPeppers

Seranos are one of my favorite peppers. They are skinny 2 to 3 inch peppers with about once and a half times as much heat as a jalapeno and provide a great zip for those who like a little extra heat.

When I say that I use 3 of the 4 I refer to the fact that I like extra heat so I use Serranos for my own cooking but usually Jalapenos if I am having guests unless it is Rick Meisinger, in which case I consider Habaneros.

The recipe:

Finely chop 3 anaheims and 2 poblano peppers and 2 medium sized onions

Mince 2 serranos

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JalapenoPeppers

Mince 6 good sized garlic cloves

Open one 28 oz. can of refried beans

2 lbs. ground beef

2 cups of cheddar cheese ( you can use jack or a jack cheddar mix. I prefer sharp cheddar)

1 jar of tomato salsa (I prefer medium to hot and use Montana Madre brand, which can be found in Missoula)

1 Jar of green salsa

¾ pint of sour cream

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SeranoPeppers

Saute half the peppers and onions in some Avocado Oil or another of your favorite oils. When they start to lose a little color, add the garlic and continue for another minute or two. Stir in the refried beans. Add 1 tblsp. chile powder, 1 tsp. of cumin, and 2 tblsp. oregano. Set aside to cool.

Saute the other half of the peppers and onions in some Avocado Oil or another of your favorite oils. When they start to lose a little color, add the garlic and continue for another minute or two. Stir in the ground beef. Add 1 tblsp. chile powder, 1 tsp. of cumin, and 2 tblsp. oregano. Set aside to cool.

If you are going to immediately build and bake the casserole they don’t have to be cooled.

Building the casserole:

In a baking dish build your layers

The first 3 layers are:

Green Salsa to cover the bottom of the pan

Soft corn tortillas

Refried Beans

The next 2 layers are sour cream and then the seasoned ground beef.

The next 3 layers start with a light layer of cheese which will melt and help hold the corn tortillas in place.

Next are the corn tortillas

And then salsa to cover the tortillas

Last comes the rest of the cheese to cover the casserole.

I bake this (and I know some of you will think this is nuts) covered with plastic and then aluminum foil. The tomatoes in the salsa will react badly when exposed to foil. The plastic provides a barrier. When to remove it, the wrap will stick to the foil and not the casserole.

Bake at 350° for 35 minutes and then uncovered for another 10 to 15. Let it set for 10 minutes and then serve with your favorite salsa for the top.

 

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You may also want to check out Bob Zimorino’s Taste It blog or even watch one of his many video blogs–including this one on Cashew Chicken!

  Check out Bob’s recipes.

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Bob Zimorino is a real estate agent with ERA Lambros, retired chef and sometime blogger with Make It Missoula. He has been a musician for over 40 years and has been writing songs for just as long. 406 -239 – 9795. See Bob’s Website; or check him out on Facebook.