Saturday, July 16, 2011

Budín con picadillo (Ground Meat Casserole)

I like finding things to do with ground beef that don't involve hamburgers, lasagna, spaghetti or tacos. This recipe actually calls for squash blossoms, which I did not have. I suspect it would taste great with zucchini or even with spinach or Swiss chard. Adapted from Mexico the Beautiful Cookbook, by Susanna Palazuela.

3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 whole clove
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb ground beef
2 tablespoons oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeño chili
1 lb tomatillos, husked
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 poblano chilies
oil for frying
12 corn tortillas
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Grind 2 garlic cloves together with the pepper, clove, thyme and one teaspoon of the salt in a mortar. Transfer to a large bowl, add the beef and mix well.
Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until transparent. Add the beef and saute, uncovered, over medium heat for 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Cook the jalapeños together with the tomatillos in boiling water until the tomatillos change color, about 10 minutes. Drain, transfer to a blender with 1 garlic clove, the cilantro, and 1 teaspoon salt. Puree and set aside.
Roast the poblano chilies: brush the chilies with oil and roast in 450-degree oven for 20 minutes or so, turning once or twice, until skin is blistered. Let chilies cool and sweat a little. Rinse under cool water, removing seeds and skin. Skin will slip right off. Slice into strips.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1/2 inch oil in a skillet and briefly fry each tortilla on both sides. Arrange 6 tortillas, overlapping, in the bottom of a rectangular baking dish. Cover with a layer of meat, a layer of poblanos, half of the sour cream and a third of the grated cheese. Make another layer of tortillas, meat, chilies, cream and cheese. Cover with tomatillo puree, transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining one-third of the cheese and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese melts and browns.

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