Monday, May 5, 2008

!Feliz Cinco De Mayo! A Guide to Mexican Fare...

The original recipe I used for Mexican Lasagna back in 2003 came from the “Good Things Utah" Cookbook. Since then, it has been through many adaptations. I’ve made it with chicken, beef, and taco meat. I’ve put rice in it. I’ve put corn in it. I’ve made it with and without beans. It’s more of a method really, than an exact recipe.

The original recipe (which is delicious in its own right) resembles something like this: (It feeds 6-8—if you’re cooking for a smaller crowd, cut it in half)

1 lb ground beef or cooked and shredded chicken
½ medium yellow onion
½ green pepper
10 oz can enchilada sauce
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 package soft tortillas
8 oz shredded Colby jack cheese
16 oz can refried beans
4 oz can green chilies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make sauce, brown beef in 10 inch skillet on med-high heat and drain. Add onion and pepper and sauté until onion is soft and translucent. Add enchilada sauce and creamed soups. (If using chicken, just saute the onion and pepper in 1 Tbsp oil and add the chicken at this point.)

Begin layering by spreading ¼ cup of the sauce mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 lasagna dish, and then add tortillas, tearing them if necessary to make one complete layer, next. Spread 1/3 of the refried beans on top of the tortillas, and then pour 1/3 of the sauce mixture on top of that. Finally sprinkle 1/3 of the shredded cheese on top of sauce. Repeat this 3 times, topping with cheese and green chilies.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Serve with sour cream, Spanish rice, and corn.

Tonight's Adaptation

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, I wanted to be as authentic as possible, so I threw out the canned soups, found myself an authentic enchilada sauce recipe, and made homemade black refried beans. Here is that recipe: (this is much more our size; it made enough to feed four, providing us with leftovers to take to work tomorrow)

Enchilada Sauce: (This sauce can be used instead of canned enchilada sauce in any recipe, and it is delicious)

1 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onions
2 ½ teasopoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cyane pepper
¼ cup salsa
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 ½ cups water

2 chicken breasts (frozen is fine, and bone-in chicken would probably add even more flavor)

2 Tablespoons sour cream

Refried black beans: (a healthy and delicious alternative to regular frijoles refritos)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup minced onions
1 can black beans, drained
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp honey

3 soft tortillas

2 cups shredded Colby jack cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare sauce, heat oil in 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to a boil. Add whole chicken breasts and simmer at med-low heat until chicken is cooked. Shred chicken and add sour cream.

To prepare beans, heat oil in a medium-sized frying pan over med-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is soft and translucent. Add beans, sugar, and honey. Continue to cook and mash with fork. Cook for 3-5 minutes.

Begin layering by adding ¼ cup of sauce to the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. Layer 1 and ½ tortillas to cover sauce. Spread ½ of the beans onto tortillas. Cover with ½ of the sauce and sprinkle with ½ of the cheese. Repeat layering once more. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve with sour cream, corn, and shredded lettuce.


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