Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chili Cheese Casserole

First of all, thanks to Jamie for his overtly drunken comment on my Egyptian stew post last night. Eloquent as always, Mr. Odone.

Tonight we made this Mexican casserole from a really old issue of Cooking Light (August 1997!). One of the main ingredients is bulgur, which I haven't had great success with before because it tasted kind of licorice-y and I didn't like it much. But I figured that if I made it with something that had lots of other flavors, then it would taste better. And I was very right. We didn't even notice the bulgur and the whole thing was very yummy.

The recipe is technically for like a potluck dinner so it makes a huge amount of food, so we quartered the recipe and it was just enough. We liked it a lot and would make it again.

Chili-Cheese Casserole for a Crowd

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa (Note: This is not as weird as it seems)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups uncooked bulgur or cracked wheat
2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
1 (16-ounce) can pinto beans, drained
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can vegetable broth
2 drained canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, minced
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, divided
2 cups baked tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 375°.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 7 ingredients (onion through garlic); sauté 5 minutes. Add water and next 7 ingredients (water through chiles); bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Spoon half of bean mixture into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Top with remaining bean mixture. Cover and bake at 375° for 40 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with 1 cup cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes. Press chips into casserole.

Yield: 12 servings

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