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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Tales from the Kitchen Classic: Tortilla Casserole

Originally posted April 28, 2006 to Tales from the Kitchen

Wednesday we had this tortilla casserole, based on something I saw in Martha Stewart Living. I changed a couple things, based on what we had at home already, and ease of preparation.

I left out the spinach, didn't precook the tortillas in oil, used more poblanos than the recipe said and would make half the tomatillo salsa in the future. Even with serving some with the torta, we have tons left.

6 fresh poblanos (recipe called for 4)
18 corn tortillas, cut in half
Sunflower seed oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small onion, thinly sliced (I used sweet onion)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
6 cloves garlic, minced (they said 4)
2 cans black beans, drained (you could easily use three or four cups of cooked black beans)
1 cup crema (we didn't have any, but did have sour cream, so I used that)
2 1/4 cups tomatillo salsa includes more for serving
1 1/2 cups grated queso fresco, Monterey Jack or a combination (I used the pepper jack we had in the fridge, I think it would be best with the queso on the inside layers and the jack on top to melt nicely)

Roast chiles over open flame, or under broiler on baking sheet, about seven minutes a side, until blackened and blistered. Put in a paper bag to steam about 15 minutes.

Peel chiles, remove seeds and stems and slice into about 1/2" wide strips.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Heat two tablespoons oil large skillet over medium heat, add onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and oregano, cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Stir in chiles and cook to heat, about a minute. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat two tablespoons oil in same skillet, add garlic and cook stirring about 30 seconds. Add beans and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, mashing the beans a bit with your spoon. Set aside.

Line the bottom of a large round casserole, about three inches deep, with 12 tortilla halves, overlapping slightly. Layer with half of chile mixture, half bean mixture, and half the crema. Layer 12 more tortilla halves on top. Spread 3/4 cup salsa over top. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese. Repeat for second layer. Top with remaining tortillas, 3/4 cup salsa and 1/2 cup cheese.

Bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with more salsa and crema.

Tomatillo Salsa (half the original recipe)

1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil
1 small onion, diced (again used a sweet onion)
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 pound tomatillos, husked and washed
1/2 cup water
1 fresh serrano, stemmed
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped (or just torn up, like I did)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oil in a medium saucepan, over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, cook about a minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomatillos, water, and serrano. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatillos have softened, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Working in batches (that's from the original, you could probably do the whole mess in one shot with half the recipe), puree tomatillo mixture in blender or food processor. Add cilantro and salt. Pulse to combine. Salsa can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to three days (probably more).

Tonight I am experimenting with a feta cheese and leek tart, to be served with a salad. If it turns out well, I'll post the recipe.

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