Sunday, October 11, 2009

Layered Tortilla & Tomato Casserole With Butternut Squash Hash and Melted Cheese

Tonight's dinner took awhile to make! First I had to roast the peppers and the garlic, then make the sauce and the butternut squash hash, then assemble the casserole, and then bake it! But it was definitely worth it! We really liked it a LOT. I'd definitely make it again, but it would have to be on a day when I have time! We discussed possible ways to reduce the time and effort, like using Rotel tomatoes, which already have chiles in them, but agreed it wouldn't be as smooth or tasty as the sauce in this recipe. Very good. We would make this again.

A note: I got this recipe from someone else's blog and they included their notes throughout the recipe. So. THE NOTES ARE NOT MINE.


Layered Tortilla & Tomato Casserole With Butternut Squash Hash and Melted Cheese via CLBB(ljt2r)
Adapted from Mexican Kitchen by Rick Bayless

For the sauce:
6 poblanos, roasted until charred and then stems and seeds removed
1 head of garlic, roasted
3 28 oz cans of tomatoes in juice, a good brand like Muir Glen (I was out of their roasted tomatoes but they would shine here)
1/2 t smoked Spanish paprika
2 T vegetable oil
salt, if needed

For layers:
1 10 oz box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry and broken into small clumps
1 1/2 cups corn kernels (frozen or cut from1 ears of corn)
1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small (1 1/2 lb) butternut squash, peeled and roughly cubed
1 large red onion, diced
1 T vegetable oil
2 t ancho chili powder
1 t ground cumin
a few splashes of red wine vinegar
1 lb shredded Monterey Jack cheese, about 4 cups (I did not measure but just layered)
24 corn tortillas, preferably stale and factory-made
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Cilantro, chipotle powder and sour cream for garnish

For the sauce: using a blender, puree the tomatoes with the roasted poblanos (including the skins) and roasted and peeled garlic. Add some chipotles to taste if you like the heat, otherwise add some smoked Spanish paprika. When smooth-ish (I blended on low and in batches) set aside. Heat a large skillet on medium high and add the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil when hot. When it shimmers, carefully pour the tomato puree into the pan. Stir nearly constantly for 8-10 minutes, until it thickens. Taste and season with salt--with canned tomatoes it may need none. Set aside.

For the hash: Heat a large skillet on medium high heat. When it is hot, add the 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When it shimmers, add the red onion and sprinkle with salt. Stir occasionally, turning down the heat if necessary to prevent scorching. Let cook for 10 minutes. Then add the butternut squash. Cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then cover the skillet and reduce the heat to medium low and let cook another 5-10 minutes. It is ready when the butternut squash is tender. Then add the corn and beans with the ancho and cumin and mix together. Splash with the red wine vinegar to deglaze and brighten the flavors. The hash is done when the vinegar completely evaporates. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

For the tortillas: Heat the 1/2 cup oil in a large pot or skillet, preferably heavy. It is ready when a wooden spoon sizzles when dipped into it. Fry each tortilla for about 5 seconds per side and then let drain in a single layer on layered paper towels (I pressed on top of the tortillas with additional paper towels). Set aside.

For layering the casserole: Spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of a greased 9X13 casserole dish. Spread a layer of 6 tortillas over it. Cover that with 1 1/2 cups of the sauce, a layer of cheese, the crumbled spinach, and another layer of cheese, totaling a bit over a cup of cheese. Layer another 6 tortillas. Spread 1 1/2 cups of the sauce over the tortillas, spread half of the hash of the sauce and finish with 1 cup of the cheese. Repeat this layer, using the rest of the hash. Layer the final 6 tortillas over that layer, pour the rest of the sauce over the tortillas and finish with the rest of the shredded cheese.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cover the casserole with foil and cook for 25 minutes. Then remove the foil and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until it is bubbling and the cheese is browning.

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