November 22, 2015
Enchilasagna, or Tortilla Casserole
I recently made a couple of these large Mexican-ish casseroles for social events, and figured I’d share the recipe.
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions
Optional: a large mushroom, a carrot, a bell pepper
1-3 cloves garlic
Optional: basil, paprika, chili powder
3-4 cans black beans
Balsamic vinegar, salt
- Heat a large pot and add the olive oil.
- Chop the onion and saute.
- As it softens, chop and add any other vegetables you may be using.
- Finely grate or crush the garlic, and add it when the vegetables are softened, along with any spices you may be using.
- Cook the garlic for a minute or so until it is fragrant and then add the beans.
- Bring to a low boil and then turn down to simmer and cook for at least half an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Add salt and balsamic vinegar to taste and leave at low simmer for at least another half hour, continuing to stir occasionally.
Sweet Peppers and Onions
1 large or 2 medium purple onions
4 bell peppers
Optional: Salt, basil
- Heat a large wok or saute pan and add the olive oil.
- Slice the onion into long strips and saute.
- Slice the peppers into long strips and add to the pan.
- Continue to cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and starting to caramelize.
- Add a few splashes of balsamic vinegar and any other seasonings you may be using, and and stir for another minute or two.
Optionally, make a smaller batch of peppers and onions and instead prepare a second vegetable filling, such as garlicky mushrooms and onions, or sauteed spinach and chard, or you could prepare any kind of savory Mexican-ish meat filling you would like.
Assembling the Casserole
Beans and sweet peppers from above
10 medium flour tortillas
1 block of cheddar (around 3/4 pound)
1 block of Mexican white cheese (cotija or equivalent)
2 jars of nice salsa (mix of 1 red and 1 green is nice)
1 large carton of sour cream
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Choose a large pot that will accommodate the tortillas and is at least 4″ tall.
- Coarsely grate, shred, or crumble the cheeses.
- Layer the casserole as follows, spreading each layer evenly and placing tortillas between them.
- Pour one third of the salsas into the bottom of the pot, then add the first tortilla.
- Spoon half of the beans into the next layer.
- Scatter just less than half of the cheese as a layer.
- Add half of the peppers and onions as a layer.
- Spoon half of the sour cream as a layer.
- Pour another third of the salsas as a layer.
- Then repeat those five layers with the remaining fillings:
- Spoon in the remaining beans.
- Scatter most of the remaining cheese, setting a small portion aside for later.
- Add the remaining peppers and onions.
- Add the remaining sour cream.
- Pour the last of the salsa on top of the final tortilla.
- Bake at 325-350 for an hour or more.
- Finish by scattering the remaining cheese on the top and returning to the oven for ten more minutes.
While the casserole is in the oven, cook 1.5 or 2 cups of rice.
To serve, slice the casserole radially, like a cake, lifting slices out of the pot with a pair of long spatulas and placing them atop a mound of rice.
A salad would be a nice accompaniment, or perhaps tortilla chips and salsa.
Serves ten or more.
Elapsed time approximately three to four hours.
You can prepare the beans and vegetables in advance, or prepare and layer the entire casserole and keep it in the refrigerator for a day or two before baking. However, if you do this, you will need to bake for a significantly longer time to allow it to all warm through; perhaps an hour at 300 and then most of another hour at 350.
I made one of these again recently, with a few adjustments.
I cooked a batch of creamed corn — sauté a large chopped onion (and optionally a bell pepper) in half a stick of butter until soft, then cut all the kernels off of six ears of corn and add to the pot, cooking until somewhat softened, then add 1-2 cups of cream and continue simmering, then salt to taste.
Instead of using salsa, I made a simple batch of spicy tomato sauce — sauté a large chopped onion in olive oil, then add a couple of diced jalepeños, and when those are soft add a few cloves of crushed garlic and some chili powder and cook for another minute or two until fragrant, then pour in a large can of crushed tomatoes and simmer for half an hour; finally put the whole batch into the jar of a blender and process until smooth.
I chopped a bunch of herbs and mixed them into a large container of sour cream.
I only used one pound of cheese, but it was an aged cheddar with a lot of flavor.
Then I used a large enameled dutch oven to hold the layers, stacking in this order, with tortillas between each layer: tomato, corn, beans, cheese, peppers, beans, cream, tomato, corn, beans, cheese, peppers, beans, cream, tomato.
The stack was about six inches high, so a flat casserole pan wouldn’t have worked.
It took a full hour at 350° to bake all the way through, then I let it sit for ten minutes to settle before cutting slices out of it.