A month ago, at the Texas State Fair, I indulged in a small and delicious treat called a Critter Fritter. It was a jalapeno stuffed with meat, breaded and fried and covered with cheese sauce. I decided to develop a casserole based on those flavors and ingredients and came up with something I think is pretty good. I thought I'd share.
CRITTER FRITTER CASSEROLE
2lbs ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup jarred jalapeno peppers, chopped (more if you like really spicy)
8oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 small box jiffy cornbread mix
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Brown ground beef in large pan. Remove meat and set aside. Drain all but 2 tsp of fat from pan. Add onion to pan and saute until tender, approx. 3-4 minutes. Add meat back to pan. Add garlic powder, salt, black pepper, cumin, chili powder and oregano. Stir to combine and cook 1 minute. Add jalapenos, stir and cook 5 minutes.
While meat is cooking, combine cornbread mix, butter, milk and egg in small bowl. Set aside.
Transfer meat mixture to an 8-inch square glass pan. Top evenly with shredded cheese. Pour cornbread mix evenly over top.
Bake 40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cut into squares and serve.