Monday, June 24, 2013

Corn Tortilla Bake

It started with a jar of Sweet Corn Salsa, which gave me an idea about making a corn tortilla bake, so here's what I did. One ear of corn, husked & rinsed, cut a bit of the bottom off to make it flat, then trim the kernels off with a sharp knife. Add about a half cup of chopped celery and let those saute until celery is tender. Empty Salsa into bowl and add hot corn mix, stir, set aside.

Second chop half a large red pepper, half a large yellow pepper and a whole hot banana pepper (carefully seeded) and saute until tender (I also used to small yellow squash, chopped). While the peppers are sauteing, mince 3/4 cup beef (or use 1/2 lb. lean ground beef) and add to 1 lb. ground turkey. 

Mix together until combined and then season with 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1/2 tsp. ground oregano, 1/2 tsp. Canadian steak seasoning, 1/2 tsp. mild chili powder and 1/2 tsp. ground cumin. Chop one small sweet onion into 1/2 inch chunks and soak in ice water with a pinch of sugar. Heat skillet med.-high and add a little canola oil and saute onions until translucent. Add meat and cook breaking up into small pieces. When mostly cooked through add 1 can, 15-oz., black beans, drained and rinsed and heat through.

Prep a baking dish with a circle of parchment and a little spray oil. Cut half your tortillas in half and leave the rest whole. Begin layering by placing a whole tortilla in the middle and arranging half slices, cut-side in, around the edges.

Layer 3 tablespoons corn mixture, then 3 tablespoons pepper mixture, then evenly cover with meat mixture. Top with 1/4 cup grated Mexican cheese blend.

Repeat layers, pressing down after each, until you have either filled your desired pan or run out of materials (be sure to leave enough tortillas for the top). If you use a springform pan, you can cut parchment to go around the sides and layer until you run out.

I could only put three layers in my cake pan, but I have a small supply of aluminum dishes for freezing leftovers, so I put a smaller casserole together for either my kids or another meal (although usually I send several pre-mades to one kid or another).

I moistened the final layer and topped with 1/2 cup cheese. Then baked it for 40 minutes at 350 degrees F. I put my cake dish on a pizza pan to keep my oven clean (I have yet to meet anyone who volunteers to clean the oven).

I think this came out very well. I served it topped with sour cream. You could add lettuce and tomato or toss a salad.

Corn Tortilla Bake
1 ear fresh sweet corn, husked, kernels removed from ear
1 jar (14.75 oz) Sweet Corn Salsa
1/2 cup celery, chopped small
3 to 4 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
1 medium Roma tomato, diced
1 medium sweet onion, 1/2 inch dice, soaked in ice water 15 min. with pinch of sugar
Half 1 large red pepper, chopped small
Half 1 large yellow pepper, chopped small
1 hot yellow banana pepper, seeded, chopped small
Optional: 2 small yellow squash, chopped small
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. ground turkey
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. Canadian steak seasoning
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. mild chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 30-ct. pkg. corn tortillas
1.5 to 2 cups grated Mexican blend cheese, divided
1 small high-sided casserole dish or springform pan
parchment paper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking dish with parchment sprayed lightly with cooking spray.
Husk and wash 1 ear of corn. Cut a slice from the bottom, stand on flat end and remove kernels with a sharp knife.
Heat medium skillet with 1 tbsp. canola oil. Chop celery. Put corn kernels and celery in hot skillet and saute until celery is tender. Pour salsa into small mixing bowl and add hot corn, stir to blend. Set aside.
Dice a Roma tomato. Dice a small sweet onion and half fill a 2 cup measuring cup with ice & water, add one pinch sugar and diced onion, let stand 15 minutes.
Chop red, yellow and banana peppers fairly small. Reheat skillet with 1 Tbsp. canola oil and add tomato. Let cook 1 to 2 minutes then add peppers and cook until tender. Pour into small mixing bowl, set aside. (You could mix these with the corn mix, saving a step and a bowl).
Mix ground meats together in a small mixing bowl with seasonings until just blended. Reheat the skillet with 1 Tbsp. canola oil. Drain and saute onions until translucent. Add meat mixture and break into small pieces as it cooks. Drain black beans and add to skillet once meat is mostly cooked. Heat through.
Cut 10 to 15 corn tortillas in half, leave remainder whole. Center 1 whole tortilla in middle of bottom of dish and line sides with cut pieces. Add 3 heaping tablespoons corn salsa, spread, then pepper mix and spread. Then an even layer of meat mix, topping that with 1/4 cup cheese. Start over with tortillas and repeat twice.
Top with final layer of tortillas, dipping them in meat juices to soften, then arrange 1 whole one in center, cut ones on edges, cut edges facing inside. Top with 1/2 cup of cheese and bake at 350 degrees until cheese is melted and tortillas are crispy, about 30 to 40 minutes.
If in springform, let set briefly before unmolding, then remove parchment lining from sides before serving.

I think it took more time to write this recipe out than it did to make it, or at least it feels that way. Because there are only two of us at home at the moment, I have a half a pan of leftovers. I think that I will break the casserole up, add a little liquid and more cheese and heat until the cheese just gets melty and dish is heated through (probably 20 min).

I think you could also assemble this on a pizza pan just making a base of whole tortillas layering in filling materials and topping with more tortillas, then topping the whole with 1 cup cheese. I think I would soft the tortillas for both the top and bottom as in an open dish, the juices have no where to collect and soft them as they bake. Now that I've thought of this, I'm going to have to try that next.

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