The Mexican meat and pepper combination has had my heart since I first tried it at Mexican Village in Fargo, North Dakota. It’s the only meal that I know of that you can hear before you can see, and, when the sizzling platter shows up at the table, it’s Game On! You know what I’m saying?
Today, I combine this “fajita fondness” with my love for casseroles. Growing up in the heart of the Midwest, these “one dish” meat and potato combinations were common fare. Whether it be Goulash, Tater Tot Hotdish, or Shepherd’s Pie, I was always eager to dig in.
The result is what I call “Fajita Pie” and I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do. Here’s how it goes…
I started with three grocery bags full of goodies. One contained 99% lean ground turkey and tomato puree, one carried 5 large sweet potatoes and the receipt for $52.40, and the third a whole lot of fresh produce.
I started by peeling the sweet potatoes over a layer of plastic wrap so that clean up would be easy.
I then wrapped the plastic up into a bundle and moved along.
I sliced the sweet potatoes into even size disks that would cook at an even rate.
I added those to an 8 quart stock pot and added enough cold water to cover the top potato disk by two inches. I placed them, uncovered, over high heat and carried on.
I turned this onion, yellow pepper, red pepper and Poblano pepper.
I transferred these to a half sheet pan, set it aside and then turned this head of garlic.
I slid the garlic to the side of the cutting board, brought another half sheet pan into play and used it to season 3.75 pounds of 99% lean, ground turkey with ancho chili powder, cumin, kosher salt and black pepper.
I placed a 14″ Camp Chef cast iron skillet over high heat and added olive oil and the minced garlic.
When the garlic began to toast (light brown edges forming), I added the turkey to the pan, seasoned side down. I then seasoned the top of the with ancho chile powder, cumin, kosher salt and pepper and began to fold the meat and garlic together.
When the turkey was approximately half cooked, I added the peppers and onions.
I folded them in, covered the pan with a lid and cooked for 5 minutes. By that time, the onions were becoming translucent and there was plenty of moisture in the pan.
I preheated my oven to 375 degrees.
The turkey was cooked enough to taste, so I took a bite. It needed more flavor, so I added another layer chile, cumin, kosher salt and pepper. I also added 2 tablespoons of Tamari, one 28oz. can of tomato puree and a dash of chipotle powder for some smokey heat.
I folded that in, seasoned once more and cut the heat. At this point, you want a strong presence of cumin and chile and the correct amount of salt, which is typically around 6 grams per pound of meat.
I transferred half of the meat mixture into a ceramic baking dish and leveled them both out.
By that time, the sweet potatoes were cooked perfectly. They were fork tender, but didn’t fall apart when straining them into a colander. I covered the skillet mixture with sweet potato disks and then smashed up the remaining potatoes with a whisk to create a rustic mash, which I used to cover the other dish.
I placed both of them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Then, I turned the broiler on high and began to caramelize (gratinee) the top of each pie.
When done, the skillet pie looked like this.
I allowed it to rest for 10 minutes while I monitored the other pie, diced up some tomatoes and bashed up a quick guacamole.
I placed this out on the table and it looked like this.
I plated up a piece, but it didn’t look as good as I wanted for the picture, so I resorted to the other pie, which was finished by that time.
I scooped out a piece, hit it with a dollop of guac, some diced tomato and a sprig of cilantro.
I was hungry and it was time to eat!
Seriously, guys, this was the best new meal creation I’ve come up with in a long time. It is a great option for weekly meal prep and freezes well.