Lone Star Hawkeye Casserole

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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4 ears of corn, cleaned of husks and silk
2 poblano peppers
1 medium onion, chopped
6 Tbsp of butter
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
2 cups of unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 lbs ground beef, browned
8 oz medium egg noodles, boiled to just al dente and drained
2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
12 saltine crackers, crushed
2 Tbsp butter, melted, for the cracker crumbs


Prepare the peppers: using tongs, hold the whole poblanos over the gas stove-top (or just set them on the grate) turning them frequently until they are nicely blackened and blistered. Immediately transfer them to a re-sealable plastic bag, seal the bag, and leave them in the bag to steam for about 5 minutes. This loosens the skin. Remove the peppers from the bag, and using the backside of your chef’s knife scrape the blackened skin off of the pepper. Use the sharp side to shave off any stubborn bits. The first time I did this, I was hesitant about the blackening and the skin was very hard to remove. Believe me, go ahead and get them nice and black and blistery and then the skin will come off like magic. After they are scraped, wipe off any remaining black bits with a paper towel, cut off the head and remove the seeds, and slice and chop them.

Prepare the corn: take the uncooked ears of corn and cut off the kernels into a plate. Use a very sharp knife and cut down at an angle and corn will come off in tidy little clusters. Set the cob aside until you have done all 4 ears. Over a separate plate, “milk” the corn cobs. To do this, run the back side of your knife heavily down the cob. The juices and remaining bits of the kernels will accumulate in the dish. Discard the cobs after this process. This juice will be added to the cream sauce later for extra flavor.

Boil the noodles, and drain them.Brown the hamburger meat and drain the excess fat. Sometimes to save trouble, I will wad up a few sheets of paper towels, tilt my pot to one side while piling up the meat on the other and just mop out the extra fat with the paper towels, and remove the towels to the trash or a plate. You have to take care not to burn yourself, but it beats getting grease all over the sink and dirtying up a colander.

In a hot sauté pan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the corn and the onions for about 3 minutes stirring frequently. Add the chopped poblanos and continue to cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the hot vegetables to a plate (or if you have gone in this order…you can just throw them in with the browned meat. I went out of order when I photographed this and the meat wasn’t ready yet.) In the same pan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter. When the butter has melted add 1/3 cup of flour and stir. Cook the flour for about a minute and then add in the broth, stirring constantly too get all the clumps out. Use a whisk if need be.

Once the broth is incorporated, let it simmer and thicken for about three minutes and then whisk in the milk. Let it cook for an additional minute or so and season it with salt and pepper. Add the reserved corn juices to the cream sauce.

Now, in the large stock pot containing the meat, add the cream sauce, the sour cream and one cup of the cheese. Stir to combine and smooth then add the vegetables and the noodles. Taste the casserole at this point. Make sure it has enough seasoning, bearing in mind that you are about to put some salty crackers on top. But, it does need salt. Put this into a 9” x 13” casserole dish which has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, crumble the crackers and toss them with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Spread the crumbs on top of the casserole. Bake the casserole for at least 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until it is bubbly around the edges and the crackers are golden. Remove from the oven. Allow the dish to rest for 5 minutes and then serve.

From themeaningofpie.com