Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Tex-Mex Chalupa Casserole

A Tex-Mex casserole made from seasoned shredded pork, chicken or beef and beans, layered with corn tortillas, cheese and taco sauce and finished with chopped onion, tomato and shredded lettuce.

Tex-Mex Chalupa Casserole

I have struggled from day one over what to call this casserole. The recipe I patterned this after was called Chalupa Casserole. Okay. Except "chalupas" apparently is the Spanish word for canoe or small boat, or something to that effect, so an authentic Mexican chalupa is so named because the tortilla dough is formed in the same manner, to make a corn canoe if you will, then stuffed with a variety of fillings.

On the other hand, I have gone to a Mexican restaurant before, ordered a chalupa plate expecting that, and received what really was a tostada to me - a flat, fried tortilla, topped with refried beans and meat and dressed like a taco, with lettuce, onion and tomatoes. Nothing concave or boat shaped about it!

Now... I love a good tostada, so that was fine with me, but why'd they call it a chalupa on the menu? Some folks say it's because they are really the same thing - well, as far as American Tex-Mex food goes - and that a chalupa isn't concave at all, at least not in the Tex-Mex form we're accustomed to here in the U.S. It is, indeed, a flat toasted or fried corn tortilla finished with a variety of toppings.

So... that's what it boils down to really - whether you're talking authentic Mexican chalupas, or Tex-Mex chalupas, neither of which applies here anyway, since I'm deconstructing it, into the form of a casserole. So... Chalupa Casserole it is, and I'll just have to endure the folks who surely will stop by to insist how silly and misinformed I am to attach the word chalupas to such a thing! So be it.

Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning: As I have learned over my years of blogging, there are a lot of folks who just want to argue. Food does not escape that wrath and neither do personal recipe blogs.

We are certainly bad about that in the south. Sugar in cornbread or grits, what constitutes a "butter bean," whether chicken and seafood belong together in a gumbo, wild American seafood versus imports, what really makes a "po'boy," cottage cheese in lasagna, dressing versus stuffing and whether bread belongs in it at all, rolled or dropped dumplings, whether marshmallows still have a place on top of sweet potato casserole, proofing yeast in baby bath temperature water, and any other number of food related topics, have, and continues to drum up arguments among many southerners. Everybody seems to have an opinion.

Here's something else I've learned. Nobody is the end all, be all of food, not even southern food, even though there seem to be a few folks who think their way is the only way. We all have our own ways, and it really all boils down to where you grew up, what you grew up with, and mostly how your grandma and mama did it. Period. End of argument, so live and let live y'all! It's all food and so long as it's all good food, well that's about all that matters. {tucks away soapbox}

As a lover of the flavor profile of all things Southwestern, Mexican or even more appropriately perhaps, our American version of Mexican food called Tex-Mex, deconstructed skillet meals and casseroles are also a favorite for me, simply because they are a good bit of less effort than individual plated servings. This is just another fun one!

I'm using shredded pork here because I made pork and beans and wanted to utilize the leftovers. A variety of fillings fit here, cooked shredded chicken or beef, or cooked ground beef certainly. This is a good dish to use up some of those taco sauce packets you have hanging around. C'mon now, you know you have some... don't act like you don't!

Here's how to make my Tex-Mex style, Chalupa Casserole and even if it is misnamed, it's delicious! Scroll past the step by step pics for the full recipe with ingredient list, measurements and instructions, as well as a printable document. PLEASE NOTE. I keep getting requests for access to print. There is no need to request access in order to print or to save that printable to your Google drive. Access is specifically for editing only!

I don't think there's an easier casserole to make. Here's how.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch square dish; set aside. Mix the shredded meat with the beans and seasonings; taste and adjust as needed. Layer half the tortillas, seasoned meat, taco sauce and shredded cheese in prepared dish; repeat layers. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake 5 minutes longer. Let rest for 10 minutes, then garnish with lettuce, tomatoes and onion. Slice into squares and serve with additional taco sauce at the table.

Dig in!

For more of my favorite Tex-Mex recipes, check out the collection on my Pinterest board!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!


Recipe: Tex-Mex Chalupa Casserole

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 35 min

Total time: 50 min
Yield: About 4 servings

  • 3 cups cooked and shredded pork, chicken or beef
  • 1 cup pinto beans, drained, rinsed and partially mashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 cup taco sauce
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/8 cup chopped tomatoes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter an 8 or 9 inch square dish; set aside. Mix the shredded meat with the beans and seasonings; taste and adjust as needed. Layer half each of the tortillas, seasoned meat, taco sauce and shredded cheese in prepared dish; repeat layers. Cover and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake 5 minutes longer. Let rest for 10 minutes, then garnish with lettuce, tomatoes and onion. Slice into squares and serve with additional taco sauce at the table.

Cook's Notes: Double for a 9 x 13 inch casserole. I used shredded pork from the Slow Cooker Pork and Beans recipe, which included beans. Use leftover beef pot roast, pork roast, a rotisserie chicken, freshly poached chicken or unsauced pulled pork, keeping in mind any seasonings already incorporated from whatever meat you are using. Give it a taste first, then begin adding in the additional Tex-Mex seasonings to taste. I add a few dashes of Cajun seasoning also. May also use cooked and drained ground beef.

To soften tortillas, pour a little chicken broth into a pie plate and dip them as you place them into the casserole dish.


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Posted by on March 18, 2019
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  1. What you are thinking of as chalupas could also be called sopes depending where in Mexico the folks in the restaurant. It's like the taquito vs flautas, or whether the cook puts hominy in the menudo.

    On this is certain though, yellow corn meal and sugar in cornbread is an utter abomination unto God.

  2. Drag out your soapbox any time Miss Mary. Enjoyed your very mild rant. So, in your kitchen, what is "chili powder"? Is it a premix (like Gebhart's) or a single type of chile that's been powdered? Like Ancho and New Mexico. Do you make your own mix? I do.

    1. Nope. I do not powder down chile peppers - just grocery store spice works for me!

  3. Love the Tex-Mex flavors in this. Your recipes always turn out so good, and I'm sure this one is no exception! Can't wait to try it. I think I'll use ground beef. Or maybe a mix of ground beef and chorizo?

  4. I had what was called a chalupa, years ago, but then was never lucky enough to encounter it again. But what I had was most definitely NOT a corn tortilla in any form, although it probably had corn in it. It was softer, folded loosely and held the fillings, but was more like a deep-fried pita bread. It was lightly puffy, crispy on the outside, tender and a little flaky inside. And (like anything deep fried) it was just a golden bite of heaven! So if that wasn't a chalupa, I've been dreaming of something else for like 20 years lol. Do you -or anyone else- know what it is then, that I'm trying to describe? TY!


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