Monday, May 11, 2009

What's Cookin- Caliente Cornbread Casserole

This dish is the love child of both Desperation and Necessity. One frazzled evening after a long day of work my husband and I found ourselves staring blindly at our cabinets, praying to the food gods that some delicious assortment of ingredients would jump out at us and beg us to whip up something magical. Low and behold, they did just that! This dish is comprised of things we normally have in our inventory. The beauty of it is that you can prepare this using creative license and use as many or as few of the suggesting ingredients that you have. Feel free to use this dish as an opportunity to "improvise" (see clean out your fridge) and add in whatever you have in the crisper that may have passes its peak. Whatever inspired ingredients you add, Caliente Cornbread Casserole is sure to be a real crowd pleaser!

For Cornbread:
2 boxes Jiffy Cornbread
2 Eggs
Ground black pepper
¼ c chopped cilantro
1 can corn- drained

For Topping:
1 medium onion- diced
5 cloves sliced garlic
1 lb lean ground beef
1 packet chili seasoning
12 oz can of diced tomatoes- Not drained
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Handful chopped cilantro
1 can Black beans-drained
12 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese
Sour cream
1 jalapeno- sliced
Hot sauce
Salt and pepper

For cornbread:
Preheat oven to 400. Prepare cornbread mix per box directions. Add to corn, cilantro and ground black pepper to cornbread mix. Stir to incorporate. Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Add cornbread batter to dish.

For topping:
In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tbsp olive oil, onions, and garlic. Cook to sweat or until they turn translucent. Add ground beef to the skillet and cook until brown. Drain any excess fat that has been rendered during cooking. Add drained beef back to skillet. Add chili seasoning packet to skillet along with canned tomatoes, cumin and crushed red pepper. Add ¼ cup of water to dissolve chili seasoning stiring frequently to make sure all of the ground beef is covered in the sauce. Let simmer until liquid reduces by half. Remove from heat, add cilantro and stir.
Add hamburger topping to the cornbread batter dish. Top with drained can of black beans. Cover liberally with Monterey Jack Cheese. Arrange jalapeno slices on top. Pop in oven and bake until cornbread sets up. You can check this by dipping a toothpick. You want the toothpick to come out clean, less a couple of crumbs. If cheese begins to brown too much before cornbread sets, just cover dish with foil and continue baking. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and hot sauce.