Semi-acceptable stand-in

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I hail from the great Southwest Texas city of El Paso. That dear city might not be known for much but it is famous for it’s incredible food. Being situated right at the border of Mexico and New Mexico, the cuisine of El Paso is like no other. It’s the perfect combination of the best Tex Mex, chile-centric New Mexican, and classic Mexican food. I look forward to the trips home not just to see friends and family but to EAT! But when I can’t be out in the west Texas town of El Paso  I have my trusty Seasoned with Sun cookbook from the Junior League of El Paso. First published in 1974, Seasoned with Sun has found its way into almost every kitchen in El Paso…and at least one kitchen in Chicago! The introduction to the cookbook says the collected recipes “represent a rich heritage, indeed. Some have the spice of Indian life, often with a Spanish accent. Others have the flavor of the Old West. But all are American classics.” When I’m feeling a little nostalgic for the home cooked comfort food of El Paso I turn to the pages of this cookbook. I own a copy of the original 1974 print but there have been many reprints and recipe updates since then. Bringing a little bit of the Southwest into my Chicago home is always a special food moment for me.

The little gem I made here is so comforting and a semi-acceptable stand-in for the real chile rellenos I love so much. But who is going to turn down the opportunity to dig into a chile relleno casserole made with browned lean ground beef, sharp Cheddar cheese and juicy chunks of New Mexican green chile? Not this gal.

If you want to get your hands on this classic cookbook it can be purchased here.


Chile Relleno Casserole

Serves 8

1 lb lean ground beef

½ c chopped onion

½ t salt

¼ t pepper

2 4-oz cans diced green chiles

1 ½ c grated sharp Cheddar cheese

1 ½ c milk

¼ c flour

4 beaten eggs

Dash Tabasco

½ t salt

¼ t pepper

Preheat oven to 350. In skillet, brown beef and onion in a little oil; drain off excess fat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place half the chiles in a casserole dish, sprinkle with cheese. Add meat mixture and another layer of chiles. Combine remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Pour over meat mixture and bake until knife comes out clean (45-50 min). Cool 5 minutes and cut into 6-8 squares.