Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 14: Fajita Beef Pie

2 boxes corn muffin mix, such as Jiffy brand, 8 1/2 ounces each
2 eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup frozen corn kernels
   Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan

2 tablespoons EVOO
1 pound ground sirloin
3 garlic cloves, crushed from their skins and chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
   Coarse salt and coarse black pepper
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce, such as Tabasco
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 bottle Mexican beer
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons dried thyme
1 sack (10 ounces) shredded Pepper Jack cheese
3 scallions, chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro, your preference

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the 2 packages of corn muffin mix with the eggs, melted butter, and milk. Stir in the corn.

Drizzle some EVOO into a large nonstick skillet with an oven-safe handle and wipe it around the pan with a folded paper towel. (Wrap the handle in a double layer of foil if it has a plastic or rubber handle.) Pour in the batter, place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake until the cornbread becomes light golden in color, 12 to 15 minutes.

Place a second skillet over medium-high heat and add the 2 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Once the beef has crumbled and begins to brown, add the garlic, onions, and bell peppers and season with salt and pepper, chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce.


Cook for 5 minutes, then add the Worcestershire, beer, and brown sugar. Stir to combine and reduce the heat to low. Simmer until the cornbread sets up and begins to brown. Stir in the thyme. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

Remove the cornbread from the oven and cover it with the sloppy chicken mixture, then sprinkle with the cheese. Put the pan back in the hot oven and cook for 5 minutes longer to set the toppings and melt the cheese. Top with the scallions and chopped parsley or cilantro and serve from the skillet, cutting the pizza into 8 wedges.


We had some friends over tonight to share the meal with. It turned out pretty good. I didn't have any beer, so I made it with chicken stock. Also I changed the recipe to call for dried thyme instead of fresh. I used sliced cheese instead of grated, but it all melts the same anyway. This is not a meal I'd make very often, but it's pretty good for a novelty dish. Our guests really liked it. The corn muffin mix is a little too sweet for me. I did lessen the amount of sugar in the topping to 1 tablespoon instead of 3 and that seemed to help. Oh, and I would not call this "Fajita Beef Pie" if I were naming it. RR says: "Fajitas are fun, but a lot of work at the tables. This recipe switches up a cornbread crust for the flour tortilla and ground beef for the usual sliced steak. Reinvent a fun food, tonight, with Fajita Beef Pie!" I don't agree. This tastes nothing like fajitas. Maybe I would call it "Chili Topped Cornbread" or "Beef Cornbread Pizza." I don't know... if you have a suggestion, let me know.

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