Guest blogger: Jeff Harkness
Last weekend was what is quickly becoming one of my favorite annual events, the Hotdish Revolution of Northeast Minneapolis. Mrs. Marv expressed it’s sublime glory it way better than I could, so ditto what she said, and then some! This time around I set my sights on the Spicy category, which in the rules is described as being anything for those who consider salt and pepper spicy, and came up with this little number. It’s a smoky-sweet Southwestern inspired dish that gets its punch from a liberal dousing of mole sauce.
I messed around trying to make my own mole sauce, but realized fast that’s a project for another day. You could easily spend years perfecting one. In the end I gave up and reached into the cupboard for a jar, and that’s really the spirit of hotdish, right? Slop together can of this and a can of that for quick, no fuss, crowd pleasing tastiness. Viva la Revolution!
Any bbq meat will do for this recipe, be it pulled pork, beef brisket, or even chicken. What’s important is that it’s either shredded, chopped or pulled so that it can soak up the full flavors of the mole sauce. When I made this I smoked my own brisket ( 3.3 lbs. pre-cooking), which is an afternoon-long process that’s probably too much to get into here, but if you’re up for it, there are a number of sites online with instructions on smoking meat. The smoke ring is a good place to start and has recipes, chat rooms, and all kinds of folks who’ll help you do it like the pros.
That pink ring you see around the outside of the brisket you get it from smoking and is pure flavor. Look for it if you’re buying pre-cooked meat from a bbq joint or some such place.
If you are using your own bbq’ed meat you may want to consider baking the dish for 2 hours. It will help soften the meat up, especially brisket, and will allow the flavors of the meat and sauce to fully intergrate.
1.5lb cooked bbq beef or pulled pork.
12 oz. Trader Joe’s Red Mole Sauce
1/2 medium red onion, sliced
1-3 (or more) jalapeno peppers, diced
8 oz. queso fresco
15 oz. canned black beans
15 oz. canned hominy
1 handful of chopped cilantro
1. Combine the meat, mole sauce, onion, cilantro, beans, hominy, peppers and half of the queso fresco in a large mixing bowl and pour into a of a 9×13 cassarole dish.
Meat, sauce and veggies. This is how you want it, nice and sloppy.
2. Cover and bake in a 250° oven for 1 hr.
3. Remove form the oven and crumble the rest of the queso fresco over it. Crumble the cornbread over the top, put it all back in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese and serve.