Creative Corned Beef

Tuesday and Wednesday in our home become the most creative cooking days of all.  We do our shopping once a week on Wednesday after dinner so by Tuesday/Wednesday the pantry shelves have generally dwindled to the nubbins.

This Wednesday was no different and I was hard-pressed to figure WHAT I was going to make for dinner!!!

The Goodwin boys saved the day by giving me a corned beef roast (yay!).  I was a little stumped on how to make it into a meal though as all I could envision corned beef with was potatoes… and as you can probably guess, the pantry had no potatoes to give… Soooo… I turned to Pinterest, which is always a sensible place to turn when one is stuck for creativity.  Most of the recipes pinned had something to do with potatoes… not so good considering my pantry situation.  But THEN I came across a fresh idea… Lorraine (aka Snow White) from Cookin’ for the Seven Dwarves had a recipe up for Corned Beef Taquitos!  Ok… now we’re on to something!  I DID have a bag of masa harina on the shelf, and although time-consuming, I could certainly whip up a batch of corn tortillas and make that work… YAY!!! ….  And not only could I do the taquitos, but ironically, the ONLY other ingredients in the pantry were just what I needed to make a batch of her salsa and guacamole to go with it… DOUBLE YAY!!!

…. Until I mixed up the batter….

…. And found it to be too wet to properly roll out into tortillas….

…. MmmKay.

Time to trouble shoot.

Quick personal pep-talk … “It’s alright Tica, there is always a solution… Ah hah!  Let’s make the masa into a corn bread topping and make it into a casserole instead.”

TRIPLE YAY!!!  Now I wouldn’t have to roll-out and individually fry 50 tortillas!

When all was said and done, we ended up with a Fantastic meal with minimal effort AND were able to put all the last bits from the pantry to use.

Not bad for a skimpy pantry!

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Lorraine’s original recipe for the Taquitos is here.  They look beautiful!  And I look forward to trying them another time.  Sometime when I feel like making a big batch of tortillas… Unlike the States where I could buy a HUGE bag of corn tortillas for a couple bucks, here it costs $8 for a bag of 8!  Uh… not so good on a tight budget when feeding a family of 10+.  However, I can get a bag of Masa Harina (the corn flour used to make said tortillas) for the same $8 and can probably make about a hundred tortillas from that one bag.  Much better choice for our crew.

If you choose to go the route of Masa Harina and want to create a casserole instead, here is the recipe for my spin off Lorraine’s original genius.

Creative Corned Beef Mexi-Style

(I made two pans with the ingredients I had on hand and this fed our large family TWICE… NICE!!)

First Layer–Corned Beef:

I cooked my roast in the crock-pot on Low all day.  I added about a cup of water to keep it moist and NO extra seasoning (it’s flavored pretty well on its own).  I turned it once to keep the top from drying out and it came out PERFECTLY moist and easy to pull-apart with a fork.  After shredding it I also ran a big knife through it so as not to have huge stringy bites… mostly for little mouths that can’t handle so much meat at one time.

Second Layer–Corn:

I had one container of frozen corn remaining from the summer.  Knowing that corned beef is quite salty on its own, I felt the sweetness from the corn would be a refreshing compliment to the hefty-savory of the meat.  I was right!  It was a great addition.

Third Layer–Masa Corn Bread:

(The following recipe was closely based on this one from chow.com)

3 c. Masa Harina

1 1/2 c. Flour

4 tsp. Baking Powder

2 tsp. Salt

2 T. Brown Sugar

4 Eggs

2 c. Water

1 c. Milk

1/2 c.  Butter (melted and divided in half)

Preheat oven to 450F (230C).  Mix dry ingredients together followed by adding and mixing in all wet (remember to only mix in 1/4 c. butter).

Assembly:

Grease two baking pans  (I used one 9×13 and one 8×11).  Divide the meat appropriately between the two pans, followed by the corn, and topped with the masa corn bread (gently spread this layer so it doesn’t disrupt the layers below), and FINALLY pour the remaining melted butter over the top.  Bake for about 30 minutes.  Because I was baking both pans at the same time I baked them for 15 minutes then swapped top to bottom, bottom to top for more even cooking; they both turned out perfectly cooked and golden.

As mentioned above, I served the casserole with salsa, guacamole and sour cream.  I used Lorraine’s recipes (with minor adjustments based on ingredients on hand) and everyone LOVED it!  For those recipes follow these links… Snow White’s Guacamole …. Daddy Pelkey’s Salsa.

Happy Creative Cooking to YOUR HOUSE too!

 

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