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Taco pie is a popular dish in the southern United States, and is sometimes known as taco pie casserole. It consists of ground beef, chopped onions, cheese, and taco seasoning combined in a savory pie crust. The pie is then topped with sour cream, and other garnishes, such as lettuce, tomato, green onions, and black olives. Some versions incorporate crushed tortilla chips or taco shells, while others leave out this ingredient. Taco pie is prepared as a main dish, and many times, as a one-dish meal.
Frozen, prepared pie crust is most commonly used to make a taco pie, although refrigerated crescent roll dough is a popular alternative. In this case, the crescent roll dough is placed in the bottom of a square baking pan, and allowed to bake for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), until golden brown. If prepared crust is being used to make a taco pie, it should be allowed to thaw for ten minutes, pricked several times with a fork, and then baked for 10-15 minutes before the filling is added.
To make a taco pie filling, one pound (1/2 kilogram) of ground beef is browned in a skillet with one medium chopped onion. After the meat is browned and excess fat drained off, a one ounce (28 gram) package of taco seasoning is added, and thoroughly combined. A layer of the meat mixture is then added to the pie crust, and topped with one cup (240 ml) of shredded cheese, and crushed tortilla chips or taco shells, if desired. This is followed by an additional layer of meat, cheese, and crushed tortilla chips.
The final step to make a taco pie is the baking. The entire dish is placed in the oven, which has been preheated to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C), and baked for 15-20 minutes, or until cheese has completely melted. When removed from the oven, the pie is topped with a layer of sour cream. Additional garnish, such as lettuce, tomatoes, green onions, and black olives, are then sprinkled on top, as desired.
There are several other ways to make a taco pie, other than using ground beef. One variation, the chicken taco pie, is made by using two cups (470 ml) of cooked, shredded chicken instead of ground beef. The turkey taco pie is a lower-fat version of the traditional dish, and is made by using one pound (1/2 kilogram) of ground turkey in place of ground beef.
To make a vegetarian taco pie, refried beans can be used instead of ground beef. One 16 ounce (470 ml) can of refried beans is warmed in a skillet with onions and taco seasoning, and all other directions are followed as described above. Another alternative is to substitute one 12 ounce (300 gram) package of vegetarian meat analog, crumbled or ground style, for the ground beef.
Or instead of crescent roll crust, use tortilla chips, or corn chips for a Frito pie!
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