Casserole. That dreaded word that for many brings up memories of unknown leftovers and school. Last summer, while I was at my parents' house, my mom whipped up a dinner that involved a cornbread topping. Then this fall, shortly after we moved in, I had accidentally made a boatload of taco-seasoned beef one night. In searching for a way to use leftovers, I came across this mid-century classic and have since updated it a bit in my own way.
Cornbread-topped Taco Casserole
Preheat oven to 400° F
1 lb. ground beef (not pictured)
1 bell pepper (any color you prefer. Green is nice, but I had an orange one on hand).
1 small onion or 1 large shallot
1 cup frozen sweetcorn (or 1 small can)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1 package taco seasoning
- water, as specified
1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
- 1/2 cup milk note: this is more than specified on package
- 1 egg
(You don't have to use a Jiffy mix, of course, but they're about 40-50¢ and tasty)
*optional: shredded cheese for topping
1 - Dice the pepper and the onion
2 - In a small pan (preferably with a bit of butter), soften your onion. This step is optional, but I'm not a big fan of crunchy onions. You can soften your peppers a bit too, but most people like those with a little crunch.
3 - Brown your beef and prepare with taco seasoning mix as per packet directions. Be sure to let it thicken as soupy beef isn't what you want in this case.
Pull out your favorite large baking dish. Mine is a vintage Le Creuset casserole, but you could do this in a deep cake pan or even a small roaster, if that's what you have in your kitchen.
4 - Mix the beef and the vegetables (onion, pepper, corn, & tomatoes) all together. Press the mixture down firmly into the pan.
5 - Prepare cornbread mix, being sure to increase milk measurement to 1/2c (package specifies 1/3c) as you want the mixture to be a little thinner. Pour on top of the meat & vegetable mixture.
6 - Put the whole shebang into a 400° F oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown.
That's it! Is it the prettiest main dish? No. Is it tasty and filling? Totally!
If you like, you may serve it with shredded cheese (cheddar or a Mexican blend are yummy).
This isn't a fancy dish in any way, but it's delightfully filling and gets a good bunch of food groups all together! I hope you enjoy.