1 lb. ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 large white onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 oz. chipotle chiles, finely diced*
1 cup enchilada sauce
4 fresh corn tortillas
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, grated
sliced black olives, to garnish
sour cream, to taste
1. In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add raw beef, breaking it up with your spatula or spoon. Add onions, garlic, salt, pepper, and chipotles, and stir. Cook for approximately 15 minutes, or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the enchilada sauce in a separate skillet if you haven’t done so already. Cut the tortillas into strips about one half inch wide, and set aside. Preheat oven to 350° F, and grease a medium casserole pan with a little olive oil (I use a 1.5 quart Pyrex dish).
3. Once the meat is evenly cooked, turn off your burner. Spoon out about one third of the meat directly into the casserole dish. Add a light layer of enchilada sauce, and top with one third of the tortilla strips, criss-crossing them on top of the sauce. Repeat two more times, to use up all of the meat and tortillas. Pour any remaining sauce over the top. Bake at 350° for approximately 25 minutes.
4. Carefully remove the casserole from the oven and place on the stove top. Add the grated cheese to the top in an even layer, and return to the oven for approximately 5 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.
5. Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Plate each serving using a large, flat spatula, trying to keep the shape of the casserole as you ease each piece onto a plate (it’s tricky!). Top with black olives and sour cream, and serve.
This casserole will also keep very well in the fridge for 3-4 days, and makes a rich, hearty meal of leftovers on a weeknight.
*For these, I used the regular old chipotles-in-adobo in a small can (3.5 oz.). If you have fresh chipotles on hand, even better. Also, note: adjust the proportion of chipotles for desired spiciness. Using about half a small can results in a nicely spicy, but not hot, casserole. Use less if you just want a little kick; throw in the whole can if you’re brave like my mom and really enjoy a strong chile flavor.