Photo by Sonia Mendez Garcia

Beef Enchilada Casserole

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 hours
Servings: 8-10 servings
Call this dish "Enchiladas meets lasagna!" Layers of tortillas, rice and beans, and beef picadillo combine to make a hearty and delicious meal.

When I need a tasty dish for a potluck or gathering, I instantly think of a beef enchilada casserole. The easiest way to prepare it is by layering all of your ingredients in  a large pan. Just like building a lasagna, you could add your favorite ingredients to suit your taste.

This beef enchilada recipe uses a version of picadillo that I love! If you don’t have a cupboard filled with spices, you could use a good-quality chili blend to make it. And if you add a little more broth and some cooked pasta noodles, you have yourself a great soup recipe! Layers of flavor!

Also, for a quick homemade enchilada sauce, blend 2 cups tomato sauce, 3 cups chicken or beef broth, 3 tablespoons flour (or cornstarch), 2 tablespoons hot sauce with 1 packet of taco seasoning from the market. Add to the skillet with 3 tablespoons of olive oil at medium heat. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes until it becomes thick. Taste for salt and pepper and add any extra spices that you like.

I typically choose chicken over beef, but this particular pan was for a group of men, hungry men! LOL! If you don’t want to prepare such a large amount, take your ingredients and layer them into individual (oven-safe) cazuelas or stoneware crocks. Just 30 minutes in the oven and you have enchiladas for two to four people.

Beef enchilada casserole collage



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  1. In a skillet, add the ground beef. Heat to medium/high heat and season with the spices listed for the picadillo. Cook until nicely browned, using a wooden spoon to break the beef into crumbles as it cooks. Add all of the remaining ingredients for the picadillo in the order listed. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and continue cooking until liquid reduces, potatoes cook and broth becomes thick. Taste for spices as it reduces. Set aside.Picadillo and potatoes
  2. For the rice, heat a skillet to medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 cup of rice. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring as needed. The rice should become aromatic and a bit toasted in spots. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add all of the remaining ingredients, minus the beans. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until most of the broth has been absorbed. Add beans on top and cover. Fold beans in with a fork before using the rice.
  4. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  5. Layer a pan with 1 cup enchilada sauce, 6 corn tortillas, slightly overlapping, picadillo, cheese and sauce, Then layer 6 more tortillas, a generous layer of rice, cheese and sauce. The last layer will be tortillas, sauce and more cheese. You could sprinkle on a little smoked paprika or oregano before baking.
  6. Cover with foil and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Uncover and add crushed corn chips, if using. Broil just until cheese browns a little.
  7. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with a little more smoked paprika and green onions before serving.

Chef Notes

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