My husband dearly loves corn muffins -- they are one of his ultimate comfort foods. In fact, whenever inclement weather threatens, he makes sure to stock up on boxes of corn muffin mix. Unfortunately, the man rarely if ever actually makes corn muffins. Thanks to the unusually nasty winter we had this year, we now have an inordinate number of corn muffin mix boxes languishing on pantry shelves and taking up precious space. The only solution, of course, is to start making recipes that use this mix. Mexican Shepherd's Pie is one such recipe. Easy to make with staples that can be picked up at our small nearby grocery store, this one-dish meal is hearty and filling, great for the few remaining chilly days we have left here in the South before spring gains its eventual foothold (our daffodils and forsythias are already flowering, and the lovely but malodorous blossoms of the Bradford pears have just started opening). I suppose it would make sense to bake a pan of corn muffins as well -- but I'm not sure I really want to encourage my husband to run out and buy more muffin mix!
Mexican Shepherd's Pie
1 lb. cooked chicken, shredded (or 12-16 oz. ground beef, browned)
1 can (15 oz.) no-salt corn (or 2 C. frozen)
1 jar (16 oz.) salsa (choose the level of heat you prefer)
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1 C. sour cream
2 C. shredded Mexican blend cheese
2 boxes (8.5 oz. each) corn muffin mix
2/3 C. milk
Combine the cooked chicken or beef with the next eight ingredients plus one cup of the cheese in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture into a greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining one cup of cheese evenly over the top. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.
Stir together the muffin mix, eggs, and milk in a medium bowl just until blended (do not overmix). Let rest for about four minutes. Remove the baking dish from the oven. Spoon the batter evenly over the chicken mixture, then spread the batter to within 1/2-inch of the edges. Bake 25-30 minutes longer until the topping is golden brown and the filling is heated through. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving. Serves 6-8.
Note: If you choose to use refrigerated fresh salsa, drain off the liquid first or your casserole (like my first effort) will end up more like a watery stew, which is still tasty but can leave the bottom of the cornbread topping slightly underdone.
|Those infamous but yummy corn muffins!|