One Pot Mexi-Mince Casserole
The flavours in this meal take me back nearly three decades (gulp – that makes me sound so old!).
My love of Mexican food blossumed in my mid teens, when I was working in north-west NSW picking table grapes and packing rockmelons.
I stayed with a beautiful, God-honouring family, who regularly shared their dinner table with half a dozen or so extra people – some they knew, and others who were friends of friends.
This open-hearted, generous family ate Mexican food almost every night.
Mexican rice, tacos, quesadillas, chilli beans, chilaquiles, calabacitas, albongias, guacamole and the list went on. All accompanied with endless cuppas.
Most were peasant dishes, from when the matriarch in this household (now my mother-in-law <3 ) was young.
Despite their humble origins, each meal was prepared with such love. Adding a little of this, and a pinch of that. And she never batted an eyelid at having to stretch the meal to accommodate another person.
In a sort of tribute, this is my ‘Aussie’ take on a Mexican dish that was similar to those we shared all those years ago.
It contains so many of my favourite (authentically Mexican) foods … mince, beans, tomatoes, cumin, chilli, corn chips.
And just in case you’re not convinced that this Mexican one-pot wonder really is deserving of a place on your table, here are 8 additional reasons!
- This is almost a set-and-forget meal once the mince and aromatics are browned.
- It’s simple enough that most children aged 10 and above could make this, with little or no assistance.
- It contains only pantry (and freezer) staples, so is a great ‘end-of-the-month’ meal. Most ingredients can be easily swapped for those you have on hand.
- The Mexican flavours are bold enough to ‘hide’ the boosted mince.
- It’s hearty, comforting fare, without any questionable additives from packet seasonings.
- It freezes and reheats well.
- It can be ‘extended’ by adding more tinned beans or diced vegies, or served on rice.
- Have visitors coming for dinner, or need to take along a pot-luck meal? You may not even have to wash the casserole dish, as it’s likely to be licked clean!
This casserole is reminiscent of those days in the mid 1990’s. It speaks of family and fellowship and lively conversations … and squeezing another chair in around the table for an unexpected, but welcomed, guest.
We’d love to hear your thoughts if you do make this casserole 😊
One Pot Mexi-Mince Casserole
- 1kg beef iron man mince (or regular mince)
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bottle passata (700ml) *
- 2 tins kidney beans, drained *
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
- 3 tbsp polenta
- Heat a large casserole dish over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until a hand held just above the cooking surface feels hot.
- Meanwhile, place mince on plate lined with several sheets of paper towel. Allow paper towel to absorb moisture while casserole dish is heating.
- Add a small amount of oil of choice to hot pan.
- Pinching off small pieces of mince, drop into the pan.
- Cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until mince is almost fully browned.
- Add onions and garlic to the mince and fry for a further 5 minutes, until they are translucent and aromatic.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, and add remaining ingredients.
- Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes.
- Serve into bowls and top with corn chips, grated cheese and sour cream, accompanied by a salad.
Serves: 6 – 8
* Passata can be replaced by 2 tins diced tomatoes.
* Any tinned beans can be used – borlotti, black, cannellini, mixed beans. Or try chickpeas or lentils. In a pinch, you could also use a tin of baked beans.
* If you can’t resist the thought of bubbling, melted cheese over your corn chips, this dish can finished in the oven. Simply crush several handfuls of corn chips over the mince mixture and sprinkle with grated cheese. Bake in a 180˚C oven for 15 minutes.
We’d love to know if you enjoyed this Mexican casserole as much as our family. Let us know in the comments below.