Carne Asada Burrito Casserole

Image from Lifehacker
I have been trying to use up food from our freezer that is getting to the end of being good, especially meat I'd tucked in there. A few days ago I found a nice flank steak that really needed using up.  As it had been in there awhile I decide the crockpot was the best way to cook it.

After thawing, I set up my large crockpot. First I layered onion in the bottom along with 3 cloves of crushed garlic and 2 slices of fresh ginger. I cross sliced the flank steak about 2 inches apart and placed the sliced in next. Then I added the condensed beef broth last.  On went the lid and I let it cook most of the day on low. Then cooled overnight. In the morning I used tongs to take out the meat and hand shredded it into a bowl. You could use 2 forks if you do this while the meat is still hot.

Image from Lifehacker
Now it was time to figure out how to use up this tasty meat. I wanted a casserole so I could freeze half for another day as it's just the 2 of us now. After a bit of internet searching, I decided on this recipe for Carne Asada Burrito Casserole by Claire Lower found on a site called Lifehacker. It was one I could easily adapt to use the meat I had already cooked.  In fact it ended up being pretty simple as I didn't have to marinate and grill the steak and I took her suggestion to use canned refried beans instead of making my own. 

I have put her original recipe below - duck fat and all.  But have noted my changes which made this simple and easy to pull together.  To serve, I just made 2 green salads and warmed a stack of small flour tortillas.  All we needed was a big spoon to scoop a nice size dollop that included all layers to place on each tortilla. Super filling and easy to serve.  Best of all my husband like it.
Honestly, I still prefer a proper taco with grilled or fried meat and additions on the side such as chopped cilantro and lime slices to squeeze, but did truly enjoy this as an alternative.

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Carne Asada Burrito Casserole
Fills a 9 x 13 pan and that fills about 15 small flour tortillas when serving.

Steak Layer -
Note - I had some flank steak I cross cut several times, cooked in the crockpot with onion, garlic and a little condensed beef broth, then shredded. I used it here instead of what she did and it worked great! So I skipped this step altogether.)
1 skirt or flank steak, weighing around 3/4 to 1 pound
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup freshly chopped cilantro
The juice of one lime
2 tablespoons of orange juice
1 teaspoon salt

Rice Layer - 
2 cups cooked long grain rice
1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro (I love cilantro so added 1/3 - 1/2 cup)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (Think I used a little more of this too.)

Refried Bean layer - 
(Note - can substitute a can of refried beans to save time and I did just that. Picked the refried beans with chilis for extra flavor, so skipped this step too.)
2 tablespoons duck fat (I would use oil)
2 cloves of garlic, peeled but whole
1 can of pinto beans, drained but not rinsed
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Vegetable Layer - 
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
1/2 a white onion, sliced thin (I did a medium sweet onion as I love onion)
1 tablespoon of olive oil or duck fat (I used oil)
A couple healthy pinches of salt

Other - 
1 1/4 cups of a shredded jack and cheddar blend, divided into 1 cup and 1/4 cup
6 ounces Queso Fresco cheese, divided into 4 oz. and 2 oz. (if you can't find this sub crumbled feta)
Sour cream
Salsa verde
Small flour tortillas

Directions - 

To simplify things I'm just going to list the finishing steps here that I used. If you want the full instructions to make everything from scratch using the ingredients above, you can read them HERE!

Cross slice flank steak into 2" strips and cook in a crock pot the day before with onions, garlic, fresh ginger slices and condensed beef broth. Cool and shred. Make 2 cups cooked rice. Squeeze lime over the rice, sprinkled on the cilantro and combine. Then stir in 1 can refried beans (with chilis for more flavor if you like). Saute onion and bell pepper in oil.  Salt. Shred and crumble all cheeses.

Layer ingredients in a 9 x 13 prepared casserole as follows.
  • Rice and beans mix
  • 1 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese
  • Sauteed onion and pepper
  • 4 oz. Queso Fresco (or Feta)
  • Shredded beef
  • 1/4 cup shredded jack and cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz. Queso Fresco (or Feta)
Bake in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes until things are bubbling and cheese is a little brown. Remove from oven and drop small dollops of sour cream on top. I did 3 across and 5 deep, so 15 in total. Top each dollop of sour cream with a small amount of salsa verde.  

To serve, you scoop a section of all layers topped with the sour cream and salsa onto a warm, small tortilla. Can also be served on it's own, but I prefer this method. Tasty and very filling.