Friday, February 29, 2008

Black Bean and Corn Enchilada Casserole

So, another snow day. I took this opportunity to play with a recipe that I was interested in. I hope you will try it out and give me your feedback. Guess this is my first "official" recipe post.

1 15oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained (I prefer organic
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup beer (your choice)
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (28oz) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 (2 1/4 oz) can sliced black olives, drained
2 (4.5 oz) cans chopped green chilies, drained
zest and juice of 1 lime
5 tbl. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
2 cups lowfat milk
2 eggs whites, lightly beaten in a medium sized bowl
1 cup shredded monteray jack cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or 2 cups cheese of your choice!)
4 6"tortillas, cut in half to fit if necessary, I used multigrain, but you can use corn if you wish
sour cream and salsa

This recipe takes a bit of time to put together, kind of a Mexican Lasagna, so, light a candle, put on some jazz and enjoy the experience. Oh, it helps to chop and prepare, or mise en place, then cook and assemble. This recipe can be made in advance as well!

Add some oil to your skillet over medium heat and saute the onions till soft, about 5 minutes. Then add the garlic (which I mince with a little sea salt), sauteing a few minutes more. Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, red pepper and beer and cook until the liquid has almost all cooked out, about 15 minutes or so. Then, add the olives, chilies, green onions (save a bit of the olives and green onions for the end), zest and juice of the lime. Remove from heat and set aside for later. This is a good time to taste to see if you want to add more seasoning.

For the sauce, so easy, combine the flour, cumin, salt and coriander in a saucepot, I prefer a saucier, and slowy whisk in the milk, so as not to create lumps. Then heat the mixture over med heat, whisking away, until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken, about 7-8 minutes. This is a good time to finish the rest of that beer that was opened! When the sauce coats the back of a spoon
remove from the heat. Place the bowl with the egg whites on a kitchen towel(so it won't scoot all over the counter) and slowly, (and I mean slowly, this is not the time to be in a hurry), whisk in a small bit of the sauce. Keep whisking a bit vigorously, and then add a bit more of the sauce to the whites, a little at a time, until you have combined all of it. You need to do this slowly, tempering the eggs, so they don't scramble. Now you are ready to build this dish!

In a 2 1/2 quart dish, coated with cooking spray, spread about 1/2 cup of the sauce. Then layer in the tortillas. I cut mine in half, they fit better that way. Then on top of that, 1 cup of bean mixture, another 1/2 cup of sauce, about 1/2 cup or so of cheese. I hate to give exact ratios, use your own judgement. You are building 4 layers and will end with sauce. Save the last layer of cheese for the end.

Now, at this point you can either freeze for later, put in the fridge overnight or bake right away. If you are baking now, do so in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes, top the casserole with last of the cheese and the reserved green onion and olives. This will bake about another 5 minutes or so. Let stand 10-15 minutes, then dig in. Should serve 6-8. I plate my wedges on a bed of lettuce and then plop the sour cream and salsa as a garnish. A little chopped cilantro would be great, but I don't have any in the house right now. If you pull it from the fridge, it will take about an hour to bake. From the freezer, I would let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake about 1 hour. You could try it straight from the freezer, I would keep it covered for about 3/4 of the cooking time, then uncover and finish cooking. I have not tried this yet.

Here is the finished product, makes great leftovers!

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