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Comfort Food: Enchilada Casserole

Posted Jan 09 2011 12:00am
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I’ve talked about comfort food before. Its always tied into cozy, rich, sometimes heavy foods.  Often, its an unhealthy dish that can be used to stuff emotions or fill in a boredom gap.

I don’t think it needs to be that way, and I love the idea of tapping into the warming side of what comfort foods are.  For me its very much tied into cold weather and as I’ve mentioned before as well, it always has rice in some way or another, because I grew up on rice with almost every meal.

To that end, and because Jon and I have been made at work on various projects, I got an urge to make a casserole.  How positively 50s of me huh?

We had quite a few leftovers from various meals, and while he was out in town running errands I had him pick up some cilantro and red enchilada sauce in a can.  What follows is, of course, not a hard and fast recipe.  Its really me, grabbing all things that either sounded good for a Mexican dish, or was in need of being eaten soon.  I, as always, encourage you to play with this.

For this dish, the size of the pan was dictated by how much filler I ended up with after having mixed every thing together.  So know that you can adapt this to your hearts content, and its really an easy dish to pull off.  This recipe is in no way a hard one, in that if you have the basic structure, you can really do with any amount of filler and it can be looked at as an exercise in trusting your gut while mixing it all up.

18 corn tortillas

1 large and 1 small can of red enchilada sauce medium heat

1 small can of organic black beans, rinsed

2 cups of left over gluten free cooked rice

1 1/2 bundles of chopped fresh organic cilantro

4 cloves of garlic minced

1/2 yellow onion, chopped

loads of grated jack and cheddar cheese

4 tblsp grated cotija cheese

1 large jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced

1 can sliced and pitted black olives

2 tblsp of ground cumin

2 tblsp of ground coriander

1.  In large bowl, mix together the garlic, onions, black beans, cilantro, rice, olives, spices and jalepeno.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Make sure to save some fresh cilantro and black olives for the topping.

2.  Pour enchilada sauce into a bowl. Then dip each corn tortilla in the sauce before laying it down in the casserole pan.

3.  You want to create layers.  So the first layer will be the coated tortillas.  Use enough to cover the bottom of the pan, making sure to overlap them a bit.  The next layer would be half of your filling, spread out evenly, and then generously sprinkle the grated jack/cheddar cheese mix over this later.  Drizzle some more enchilada sauce over this layer and then cover with another layer of dipped tortillas.  Do this again with the remainder of the mixture.

4.  Once final layer of tortillas is added, sprinkle with cheese, black olives and add the cotija cheese to the top.

5.  Place in a 350 degree preheated oven, covered in foil for about 30 minutes.  Then uncover and leave in the oven for another 5-10 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.

6.  Again, I had a large casserole pan.  The recipe is easy to adapt to a smaller portion and is quite given over to estimates and adjustments.

7.  Serve with sour cream and sliced avocados, a small cabbage and radish salad, dressed with lemon, oil and salt and you have a great Mexican meal.

Once we had eaten dinner, I took half of the casserole and froze it for another day.  The half that I kept out served us for a couple of meals and made it easy on me on the days that I didn’t have time to cook.

Conscious eating to all!

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