Mexican Beef & Rice Casserole with Tortilla Strips

Mexican Beef & Rice Casserole

with Tortilla Strips

45 MIN
3 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

This beef casserole is loaded with a bevy of Southwest flavors: Mexican-spiced rice, black beans, and sweet peppers. It’s all topped off with tortilla strips, which crisp up as all the flavors meld in the oven.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    710 Cals (est.)
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tips & techniques
Cook the rice:
1 Cook the rice:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. In a small pot, combine the rice, half the spice blend, a big pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, without stirring, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Cut off and discard the stems of the peppers; remove and discard the cores, then thinly slice into rings. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Drain and rinse the beans. Stack the tortillas; cut in half, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch-wide strips. Crumble the queso blanco.

Brown the beef:
3 Brown the beef:

In a large, high-sided pan (or pot), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Make the filling:
4 Make the filling:

Add the chopped garlic, sliced peppers, and sliced white bottoms of the scallions to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened and the beef is cooked through. Add the tomato paste and remaining spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Add the beans and 1/2 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked rice and crumbled queso blanco. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assemble the casserole:
5 Assemble the casserole:

Place the tortilla strips in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Transfer the filling to a baking dish and evenly top with the seasoned tortilla strips.

Bake the casserole & serve your dish:
6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

Bake the casserole, rotating halfway through, 9 to 11 minutes, or until the tortilla strips are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Garnish the baked casserole with the sliced green tops of the scallions. Season the crema with salt and pepper and serve on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the rice:
1 Cook the rice:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 450°F. In a small pot, combine the rice, half the spice blend, a big pinch of salt, and 1 cup of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, without stirring, 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Turn off the heat. Fluff the cooked rice with a fork.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the rice cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Cut off and discard the stems of the peppers; remove and discard the cores, then thinly slice into rings. Cut off and discard the root ends of the scallions; thinly slice, separating the white bottoms and green tops. Drain and rinse the beans. Stack the tortillas; cut in half, then cut crosswise into ¼-inch-wide strips. Crumble the queso blanco.

Prepare the ingredients:
Brown the beef:
3 Brown the beef:

In a large, high-sided pan (or pot), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, frequently breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned.

4 Make the filling:

Add the chopped garlic, sliced peppers, and sliced white bottoms of the scallions to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the vegetables are slightly softened and the beef is cooked through. Add the tomato paste and remaining spice blend; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined. Add the beans and 1/2 cup of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the liquid is slightly thickened. Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked rice and crumbled queso blanco. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the filling:
Assemble the casserole:
5 Assemble the casserole:

Place the tortilla strips in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Transfer the filling to a baking dish and evenly top with the seasoned tortilla strips.

6 Bake the casserole & serve your dish:

Bake the casserole, rotating halfway through, 9 to 11 minutes, or until the tortilla strips are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes before serving. Garnish the baked casserole with the sliced green tops of the scallions. Season the crema with salt and pepper and serve on the side. Enjoy!

Bake the casserole & serve your dish:
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