Tag Archives: savoury savvy

Chilaquiles — Mexican ‘Lasagna’? Ole!

4 Sep

I stumbled across this recipe looking for a way to use up a can of red kidney beans opened in error. I like beans, so finding new ways to cook with them is a fun culinary quest. Chilaquiles [tchee/lah/KEE/lehs] is a novel dish I found in Quick Vegetarian Pleasures [QVP] (Jeanne Lemlin, Harper Collins, 1992, page 163). Their description calls Chilaquiles a Mexican lasagna-like dish.

Chilaques: Made as a Mexican-style lasagna.

Chilaquiles: Made as a Mexican-style lasagna.

However, in researching the proper pronunciation of the word, I discovered this recipe bears little resemblance to the authentic Mexican breakfast/brunch dish of the same name. The more traditional Mexican dish uses the same layers of corn tortilla strips (but fried), salsa and grated cheese and/or cream but includes cooked eggs.

The QVP recipe makes a great evening meal and easily reheats for subsequent servings. Individual portions of this recipe can also be frozen, unlike the traditional Mexican dish which appears to resemble a breakfast fry-up.

I found the Chilaquiles a hearty, tasty meal with just the tiniest bit of zip (akin to a tingle of your lips). It’s great to have a new dish to add to my vegetarian repertoire. Uncertain whether I’d like it well enough to eat the four servings of the original recipe, I made a full batch of the chile sauce. I used only half of it to make a smaller casserole dish for my meal and I still ended up with three large servings. The rest of the chile sauce made a great dip for tortillas chips as a snack. Or make the full recipe (increased amounts given inside square brackets) in a 10 x 10 x 2″ or 12 x 7 x 2″ casserole dish and take it to a potluck dinner.

Garlic, onion, corn tortillas, EVOO, green chies, MOnterey Jack cheese, canned tomatoes, red kidney beans and sour cream.

Garlic, onion, canned tomatoes, corn tortillas, EVOO, green chiles, Monterey Jack cheese, red kidney beans and sour cream.

CHILAQUILES                                                            Makes: 3 large servings

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 Tbsp                                 olive oil
  • 2                                              onions, finely diced
  • 2                                              garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 – 28 oz (796 mL) can        tomatoes, finely chopped plus the liquid
  • 1 – 16 oz (540 mL) can        kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 – 4 oz (118 mL) can           mild green chiles, minced and drained
  • 6 [12] small                           corn tortillas, cut into 1 – 2″ strips
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) [1 cup]     sour cream
  • 1.25 cups (284 mL) [2.5 cups/568 mL]   grated Monterey Jack cheese  about 4 [8] oz or 113 [227] g.
  • If you can’t find Monterey Jack, substitute a mild cheddar.

Instructions:

1.     Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 5 x 2″ casserole dish with oil.

2.     In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes or until the onions are tender.

Saute onions and garlic until tender.

Saute onions and garlic until tender.

3.     Stir in the tomatoes and their juice, the chiles and the red kidney beans. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until the juices begin to thicken. Remove from  heat.

Add tomatoes, green chiles and kidney beans. Boil to reduce liquid.

Add tomatoes, green chiles and kidney beans. Boil to reduce liquid.

4.     Reserve 1/3 to half of the chile sauce for another use. (Serve with tortilla chips as a snack.) Of the remaining sauce, spread half of it evenly over the bottom of your lasagna pan.

One layer of sauce on bottom of baking pan.

One layer of sauce on bottom of baking pan.

5.     Top the sauce with half of the corn tortillas strips, laying them like lasagna noodles, first in one direction and then the other. Spread half the sour cream over the tortilla layer and half the cheese.

Create a layer with strips of corn tortillas.

Create a layer with strips of corn tortillas.

A layer of sour cream and then grated Monterey Jack cheese.

A layer of sour cream and then grated Monterey Jack cheese.

6.     Create the next layer with the second half of the corn tortilla strips, the remaining sauce, sour cream and cheese.

Repeat layers and bake in 350 F oven for 35 minutes.

Repeat layers and bake in 350 F oven for 35 minutes.

7.     Bake in pre-heated 350 F oven for 35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. The cheese layer will be golden and a little crusty.

. . . until hot and bubbly and cheese is crusty.

. . . until hot and bubbly and cheese is crusty.

I prepared a quick guacamole with a chopped avocado, diced tomato, garlic, salt and pepper and a squirt of cilantro (from a tube). It was a great complement to Chilaquiles along with a frosty lager.

A hearty, zippy dish paired with fresh guacamole.

A hearty, zippy dish paired with fresh guacamole.

Subsequent servings are best reheated covered with foil in a 350 F oven. If frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge overnight or in the microwave on 60% power for 3.5 – 4 minutes before re-heating in the oven.

A great addition to the vegetarian entrees section of your recipe box.

A great addition to the vegetarian entrees section of your recipe box.

 

 

 

Harvest Bounty Beauty: Chicken Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

2 Sep

Bundles of fresh basil, baskets of sun-kissed cherry tomatoes, just picked greens are all available at my local market. Add some leftover Pollo al Mattone (or supermarket rotisserie chicken) and linguine and you have a zippy summer supper.

Sun-kissed cherry tomatoes.

Sun-kissed cherry tomatoes.

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes is the cover recipe of Chatelaine Magazine‘s September 2013 issue (page 79). My photos are far less appealing than the cover model, but I haven’t studied food styling and air-brushing!

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

As mentioned in an earlier post, I wanted to use up the last of my 2012 crop of pesto before making this year’s batch. I’ll post the recipe for basil pesto when I get around to making it, but you can easily make this dish using pesto purchased from your grocery.

This pasta offers a meal in a bowl — protein, starch, greens, fat and vegetable — and comes together in about 30 minutes. The original recipe called for arugula which I could not find on its own, so I substituted baby spinach leaves. I expect the peppery taste of the arugula would add an interesting taste to the combination.

Next time, I’ll increase the amount of tomatoes to a pint and a half — I had less than a full pint. The ripe cherry tomatoes become sweet and rich when roasted and I think the flavours would have a better balance with more tomatoes.

Go for maximum colour.

Go for maximum colour.

Likewise, some of the pesto I cleared out of the freezer had lost its punch, so for the second serving of this meal I added another 2 Tablespoons of pesto. It’s good advice to taste a dish before serving and adjust the seasonings as necessary. Too bad I don’t always take good advice.

Shredded chicken, baby spinach, linguine and pesto.

Shredded chicken, baby spinach, linguine and pesto.

CHICKEN PESTO PASTA WITH ROASTED TOMATOES             Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 (+ 1/2) pint                       cherry tomatoes, halved (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp                                     extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp                                 salt
  • 225 g                                    linguine, 1/4 of a 900 g package
  • 3/8 cup                                Basil pesto  (approx. 3 “cubes” of homemade pesto, frozen in ice-cube trays, thawed)
  • 1 cup                                    shredded rotisserie chicken, about 1/4 whole
  • 1 cup                                    arugula or baby spinach

Instructions:

1.     Preheat oven to 400 F/200 C. Set a rack to the centre position. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pint of cherry tomatoes, halved tossed with 1 tsp EVOO, salt and pepper.

Pint of cherry tomatoes, halved and tossed with 1 tsp EVOO, salt and pepper.

2.     Set a medium pot of water on to boil.

3.     Place halved cherry tomatoes on the parchment, sprinkle with salt and drizzle with the EVOO and toss to combine. Season with ground black pepper and spread tomatoes around on the baking sheet.

Roast on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet in 400 F oven for 20 - 25 minutes

Roast on parchment paper-lined cookie sheet in 400 F oven for 20 – 25 minutes

4.      Roast in the centre of a 400 F oven for 20 -25 minutes, shaking or gently stirring halfway. Roast until tomatoes are golden brown and soft.

Sweet, rich roasted cherry tomatoes.

Sweet, rich roasted cherry tomatoes.

5.     Meanwhile, wash and drain the greens (arugula or baby spinach) you’re using. Shred chicken.

6.     When tomatoes have roasted for 10 – 12 minutes, put linguine in the pot of boiling water to cook according the package instructions. This should take about 7 – 8 minutes for al dente. Just before draining the pasta, add the baby spinach, if using, to wilt.

7.     Reserve 1/8 – 1/4 cup of pasta cooking water before draining the linguine and spinach in a colander. Return to pasta pot and stir in the pesto (and extra pasta water if the mixture seems dry). Add the shredded chicken, roasted tomatoes and arugula (if using) and toss before serving.

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

Chicken Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes

Enjoy with a glass of lusty, fruity red or an extra-dry, medium-bodied rose and perhaps a chunk of garlic bread on the side. “Cin-cin!”

 

 

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