The cuisine of the Southwestern United States is food styled after the rustic cooking of that region. It comprises a fusion of recipes for things that might have been eaten by Spanish colonial settlers, cowboys, Native Americans, and Mexicans, however, there is a great diversity in this kind of cuisine throughout the Southwestern states.
Southwestern cuisine (often referred to as “tex-mex”) is a very close cousin to Mexican cuisine, and it is also known for its use of spices (particularly the chile, or Chili pepper) and accompaniment with beans (frijoles), cooked in a variety of manners. Southwestern cuisine also reflects its Mexican, Spanish, and Native American heritage. Considering San Antionio to be sort of the regional epicurean center of southwestern cuisine, I have chosen to call this dish, San Antonio Lasagna.
We all know and love “Italian Lasagna,” but how do you convert this well-known favorite into a “Texican-Mexican-Southwestern” dish? Not too difficult, actually – just use corn tortillas instead of lasagna noodles; salsa instead of tomato sauce; beans in place of tomatoes; cheddar and jack instead of ricotta and Parmesan. Suddenly you’ve moved from Tuscany to the Mexican Riviera, and have yourself a serious Mexican casserole dish, with layers of beef, beans, corn tortillas, and enchilada sauce. This one is really great for large family gatherings and potluck dinners, because it’s a real crowd-pleaser! — but even so you can have a few servings now and freeze the rest for later consumption. Although there are according to Bing, more than 1,340,000 Tex-Mex Lasagna recipes, this one is adapted from a recipe called “Tex-Mex Lasagna,” which appeared in Southern Living magazine.
San Antonio Lasagna
1 lb. ground chuck
1 cup combined, diced onion, red & green bell pepper, and celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp Chipotle seasoning blend
1 – 24oz jar mild salsa (such as Pace Picante Sauce or similar)
1 – 15oz can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 – 10oz can enchilada sauce
1 – 10oz package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
16 – 6″ fajita-size corn tortillas
4 cups (32oz) shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
Accompaniments & Toppings:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.
2. In a large, non-stick skillet, combine the ground chuck, veggies, garlic, chili powder and chipotle seasoning, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, for about 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are tender and beef is no longer pink and crumbles easily.
3. Stir in the salsa and beans, enchilada sauce, and corn; cook an additional 5-10 minutes, or until mixture is thoroughly heated.
4. Layer 1 cup of the beef mixture, 2 tortillas (edges will overlap) and 1/2 cup cheese in a lightly greased 7 X 5 X1 1/2″ casserole dish.
Note: If you prefer to use a larger 13- x 9-inch casserole dish, prepare recipe through Step 2 only.
Omit 4 corn tortillas. Layer one-third beef mixture, 6 tortillas (overlapping edges), and 2 cups cheese. Repeat layers with one-third beef mixture, remaining 6 tortillas, remaining beef mixture, and ending with remaining 2 cups cheese.
When I made this recipe for the first time, as you can see from the photos, I used one 9X13 casserole dish, and one 8X11 dish as well.
5. Cover dishes with aluminum foil, shiny side down, as you want the heat to reflect downward and into the mixture.
6. Bake, covered, at 350° for 40 minutes; uncover and bake 10 more minutes or until bubbly.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with desired accompaniments and/or toppings.
Freezes well! You will most likely have plenty leftover!