The spicy beef taco bake is essentially a Taco Tuesday casserole. Beef and onions are sauteed and then mixed with tomatoes, beans, cheese, broken taco shells, and spices and then the whole shebang is baked until bubbly. Utterly irresistible.
Taco casserole. That’s essentially how we think of this easy, cheesy, crunchy, spicy taco bake. You’re welcome.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Spicy Beef Taco Bake
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 2 H
- Serves 6 to 8
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or mild olive oil
- 1 onion (8 oz), finely chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 1/2 pounds 93 percent lean ground beef
- Two (10-ounce) cans Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies*, drained with 1/2 cup juice reserved
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
- One (16-ounce) can refried beans (454 g)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
- 1 1/2 cups Colby Jack or Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- 12 taco shells, broken into 1 inch pieces, or coarsely crushed tortilla chips
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- Your favorite taco toppings, such as shredded lettuce, sour cream, chopped onion, and/or salsa
- 1. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until the onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, garlic, and oregano and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no trace of pinks, 3 to 5 minutes.
- 2. Stir in half the tomatoes, the reserved tomato juice, vinegar, and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook until the mixture is very thick, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
- 3. Mix the remaining tomatoes, refried beans, and cilantro together, then spread in 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1/2 cup Colby Jack over the beans. Spread the cooled beef mixture on the cheese and sprinkle with another 1/2 cup Colby Jack. Wrap the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
- 4. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- 5. Unwrap the dish, scatter the crushed taco shells over the top, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Colby Jack. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil slicked with oil and bake the casserole until hot throughout and bubbling around the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake until the topping is spotty brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with scallions and serve.
*Substitution For Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
- If you can’t find Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies, substitute 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained, and one 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained, reserving 6 tablespoons of the tomato juice and 2 tablespoons of the chile juice.