Tuesday evening we had dinner for some friends of ours who has given me a really bad time because I fry my own chips and make my own salsa. Because one of our friends who I won’t name, OK, I will name her, Judy’s words to me was, “really, you fry your own chips? Just go to the store and buy a bag of chips for Pete’s sake” So I thought I would show her why I make my own chips and once in for all, settle this question of why I choose to spend the better part of 2 hrs frying chips for a Mexican dinner at our house. So here it was Monday and I am scrolling through the internet looking at different recipes for chile rellano casseroles when I came across Mario Batali which he made when visiting the TV program The Chew. When I read over it, I decided that it sounded so much better than the last rellano casserole I had made.We drove to the store to pick up the necessary grocery items and Randy decided that he wanted to buy Anaheim peppers and roast them himself instead of using all canned green chiles. So we bought 8 of them.
Tuesday morning arrives and we are decorating the table to seat 8 friends and find our Mexican dishes to serve the homemade chips, salsa and casserole. I had made the salsa on Monday evening so that the flavors would have time to blend and after sampling it, found that it was really really good. Randy roasted the peppers and I start frying chips. After an hour and a half, I figured that if they had eaten all the chips I had fried, they certainly could then go to the store and “just grab a bag of chips”. I smelled like grease from head to toe, but it was worth it. The chips were amazing. We sprinkle Lawry’s Seasoning salt and a little pepper over them as soon as they come out of the fryer.
Around 5 I begin to put the casserole together. I deseeded the peppers he had roasted and skinned. Laying them in the bottom of the lightly greased Paula Deen casserole dish, I covered them with 1/2 lb of fried and crumbled ground beef. Then comes about 1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar. Because we had about 1/2 of package of Mexican cheese (the white cheese used to stuff chile rellanos or use in quest dip, I cannot remember the exact name) I crumbled that over the cheddar. Then I poured about 2/3 cup mild green chile enchilada sauce over this mixture. Running out of our roasted anaheim peppers, I opened up a can of Hatch whole green chiles and sliced them in half, removed the seeds and used those to top the layer of casserole that was already in the pan. I repeated the second layer with the rest of the hamburger meat, the rest of the Mexican cheese, another 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar, another 2/3 cup green chile sauce and then poured my milk mixture (see below for the milk mixture)*over the top of the layer. Finally, I used another 2 cups of shredded cheese and covered it with foil and baked it in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes. Let it sit about 10-15 min before serving to allow to set.
The friends who we served it to all wanted the recipe and each guy ate two servings. It truly was the best chile rellanos casserole we have had and just finished the last two servings for lunch today. (Yes, Randy was so impressed with how hard I worked frying all those chips Tues, he took me to Costco for a hot dog yesterday, so we had leftovers for our lunch today. Mr. Romantic strikes again)
Thank you Mario Batali for sharing this great recipe. It was such a hit and allowed us to send our friends, Mary Lou and Danny back to Minnesota with a great memory of having real Mexican food that will have to last them until they come back in November. OLE’
1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
3 teas chile powder
1 teas ground cumin
1 teas salt
1 (15 oz) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
1 tables flour
2 1/2 cups mild green chile enchilada sauce (Mario used salsa, I substituted the sauce)
24 oz of sharp cheddar cheese (Plus I used the remaining white Mexican cheese we had in fridge)
To Assemble: brown the meat with the onion and garlic until meat is no longer pink. Add the chile powder, cumin and salt to taste.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk, cilantro and flour together with a whisk.
Arrange half the chiles in a single layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with half of the meat mixture, half of the enchilada sauce, half of the cheese. Top with the rest of the meat, more cheese, rest of enchilada sauce and then pour the milk mixture over the top. Sprinkle rest of shredded cheese and bake in preheated 350 oven for about 45-50 minutes or until edges are brown and cheese is bubbling in center of casserole.
Allow to sit for about 10-15 min so it will firm up before cutting into squares to serve. Top with fresh cilantro and sour cream if desired to serve.