Tortilla Casserole with Braised Beef in Beer and Salsa Verde tastes like it takes a lot more work than it does. Simple to make, especially if you have access to good salsa verde, it is a reliably delicious one pot meal. I have made it many times over the last fifteen (!) years, enough so that these photos were updated in April 2016. The process photos are original ones from 2013, but otherwise the photos are from April 2016.
I seem to have a mental hang-up where tortilla casseroles are concerned, preventing me from properly keeping track of the recipe. Which means when it comes time to share, all I really have is a list of ingredients in my head. No amounts, no nothing, just common sense and a love for anything with Mexican flavors. But truly that is all you need–and I promise you can make this too.
I also have a terrible habit of photographing the casserole when it is piping hot out of the oven–and if you have ever made any kind of layered casserole (lasagne, tortilla, etc), you know that fresh and hot out of the oven, the wedge of casserole pretty much collapses, leaving a gloppy but delectable mess–as pictured above. Letting the casserole rest for at least ten minutes before slicing it will help with this.
Many tortilla casseroles that I make are convenience food, whipped up fast out of my head using ground beef and/or beans or leftovers. But for this one I decided to braise a beef chuck specifically for the casserole. After browning the beef, I sautéed onions and deglazed the pan with lager. I then braised the beef in a very low oven with the rest of the beer and a few glugs of green salsa (storebought is fine–just try to find one without a lot of unpronounceable ingredients; I prefer ones with tomatillos).
When the beef was done, I de-boned it and cut off all the fat (reserve the beer/beef stock it cooked in). I then chopped the remaining meat. I sautéed onions, garlic, bell peppers and added the chopped beef and an entire jar of salsa verde. I also added ground cumin, Mexican oregano and the beer/beef stock–one of the most important things to remember when whipping up a casserole is to make sure it has extra liquid to cook in. Otherwise you will risk the casserole drying out in the oven. Plus, you do not want to lose all that fabulous flavor that leached into the braising liquid.
When layering the casserole, I used corn tortillas (be sure to get good ones from a Mexican grocer–I tried generic American grocery store store-brand first and UGH!), the beef/veggies mix, shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses [note: in April 2016 I used plain Monterey Jack and Pepper Jack cheeses only], and sour cream. Bake until bubbly at about 350 F and the cheese on top (end with the cheese) is melted and browning. Serve with Tapatio Hot Sauce.