Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Whole Enchilada

If you love enchiladas but not the fuss of rolling tortillas into neat rows, try this stacked version that always comes out looking great.  Extra filling ideas allow this dish to go vegetarian.  Use a one-quart souffle dish or any dish with high sides that fits the diameter of your corn tortillas. Like many casseroles, you can assemble it earlier in the day or cook it right away and freeze it for a later meal. 

Enchilada Casserole
Serves 4
Ingredients
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 15-oz can low sodium black beans, drained
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1 medium tomato, roughly chopped
2 T freshly chopped cilantro
1/4 lime
1 cooked whole chicken breast, shredded  (1 to 1+1/2 cups)
1/3 cup sliced black olives
1 10-oz can plain tomato sauce, low sodium
1 teaspoon chipotle powder
optional: 1 peeled, chopped tomatillo, 1/2 small can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
4 corn tortillas
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.  Lightly oil the casserole dish to prevent sticking.  
  2. In a medium bowl combine corn, black beans, jalapeno pepper, tomato and cilantro.  Add a squeeze of lime and mix well.  Set aside.  
  3. In a second bowl, combine shredded chicken with olives.  (Set aside about 5 olive slices for garnish.) 
  4. In a shallow dish or pie plate wide enough to fit tortillas, mix together tomato sauce and chipotle powder.  If using tomatillos or a canned chipotles, combine the sauce in a blender and pour into shallow plate.  
  5. Dip a tortilla in sauce so it completely covers and slightly softens the tortilla.  Spoon a bit of sauce on the bottom of the casserole and top with softened tortilla.  
  6. Add half of the corn-bean mixture, 1/4 cup cheese and a second tortilla softened in sauce.  Add another spoonful or two of sauce then add entire chicken mixture to form next layer.  Sprinkle on another 1/4 cup cheese.  Add a bit of sauce if chicken looks dry.  
  7. Create the next layer with a softened tortilla, the remaining corn-bean mixture and 1/4 cup cheese.  
  8. Top with the last tortilla, softened in remaining sauce, the rest of the cheese and the reserved olive slices.  Pour remaining sauce over top. 
  9. Cover casserole loosely with foil and bake at 375˚F for 25-30 minutes until center is hot, at least 150˚F.  
  10. Remove foil and continue to bake, about 10-15 minutes longer until cheese has melted and sauce is bubbling. (Center of casserole should read 165˚F.)  Remove casserole from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before cutting and serving.   
  11. Serve alongside a bed of lettuce with a wedge of avocado and lime.  Garnish with fresh cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.  

Vegetarian version:
As a vegetarian casserole, this dish can be used as a main or side dish at a dinner with all types of eaters.  To create a vegetarian enchilada casserole, double the bean mixture and eliminate the chicken layer or replace the chicken layer with a mixture of thickly sliced and sauteed mushrooms, zucchini and peppers (hot or sweet, your choice) mixed with sliced olives and spiced with cilantro, oregano and a bit of cumin. 

Happy Anniversary!  Pure Foods Project blog celebrates its first anniversary today.