June 7, 2012

Cook It Again: Chilaquiles

Last night, I made a new recipe (it's like I'm always recipe testing—what gives?) and when we sat down to eat, the dialogue went a little something like this:

Ryan, after the first bite, "Yum! Wow, this is really good. What is it again?"
Me: "Chilaquiles."
"Fascinating. It's really good. Are you sure it's healthy?"
"Well, it's got a little cheese... but yeah, healthy*."
"How come you never cook things twice? Even if they're good, you don't make them again."
"I should write down the good ones so I remember to cook them again."
"Um, isn't that what your blog is for? How about, 'Cook It Again Thursdays' or something?"

And so I give you, my inaugural "Cook it Again" post. I won't promise one every Thursday (you know how my Freshworthy Friday posts go), but he's got a point; it'd be nice to have a list of fail-safe recipes on hand. Especially easy ones that have room for improvisation already built in.

Back to the chilaquiles. I have unwittingly made similar dishes before, and last night realized it's amazing what you can do with some corn tortillas, a can of beans, and some vegetables. This came together in a snap and had all the merits of a tasty, family-friendly weeknight dinner. I only used two dishes—a pan for sautĂ©ing and the dish for baking. That's easy enough to clean up.

Chilaquiles, like enchiladas, have myriad variations and there is no one "right" recipe—so feel free to adapt as you please and add or subtract ingredients at whim. Basically, you need corn tortillas, a saucy mixture of vegetables with either a red tomato base or a green tomatillo base, and a little bit of cheese. Here's what I put together for ours last night, based on this recipe from Epicurious. Chilaquiles sometimes involve eggs; the recipe I used didn't call for them and I didn't add them. But now, it sounds delish.

Featured homegrown garden veggies: bell peppers, jalapeno, and zucchini.

*Because to me, beans and vegetables and corn tortillas (with only two ingredients) sounds pretty darn healthy. Mind you, I'm no nutritionist. 

Zucchini Chilaquiles

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 red onion, diced
1 large or 2 medium green bell peppers, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
1 large zucchini, cut into small pieces
1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (like Rotel)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper to taste
8 corn tortillas, cut into strips
3/4 cup shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a medium-sized baking dish (I used one similar to a 9x9). Chop the vegetables and open the cans. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and peppers, and saute until the onions are nearly translucent. Add the zucchini and cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and the beans and add the cumin; stir, taste, and season accordingly with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer for another five minutes.

Place a full layer of corn tortilla strips in the baking dish, completely covering the bottom of the dish. Pour about half of the zucchini and black bean mixture on top of the tortillas and add half of the shredded cheese. Add one more layer of tortilla strips, the rest of the vegetables, and the rest of the cheese.

Bake, uncovered, for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and a little bit browned. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Add a side salad or a scoop of homemade guacamole to round out the meal.


Claire Jain said...

This sounds awesome! I foresee it coming to a dinner table near Aman very soon. And Cook it Again Thursdays is a great idea :-)