Thursday, November 20, 2008
chilequiles de lita
My version of chilequiles is a combination of a frittata and a tortilla casserole. It's quick, delicious, and you might even have all of the ingredients in your kitchen already. You know how smells can deeply evoke a memory? Whenever this in my oven, the aroma sends me right back to childhood. I am half Puerto Rican, but was raised by my step-father who is Mexican and Peruvian. His mother lived upstairs. She was my Abuela (Spanish for grandmother), we called her Lita. This recipe is inspired by all of the cooking she did for us when my brother and sister were little. I was the big sister, so it was my job to run upstairs. Lita would call over the back porch down to me, "Mayita... ven" I remember how the delicious smells would envelope me as I ran up her flight of green carpeted stairs to the flat above.
Chilequiles de Lita
1 jar of mild salsa
8 0z. Neufatchel cheese (cream cheese is heavier, but works well also)
1 cup black beans
12 corn tortillas
1/2 cup corn (frozen is fine)
6 0z of grated jack or cheddar cheese
you can also add:
1 cup of chopped vegetables that you have on hand... zucchini is especially good
-Puree in a blender or food processor the Neufatchel cheese and 3/4 jar of salsa. Next, add all of your eggs. Blend until smooth and pink.
-Spread the last 1/4 of the salsa on the bottom of your baking dish... I used my heavy Le Creuset, but any cast iron pan or Pyrex will work.
-Tear 8 tortillas into strips directly on top of the salsa. Any way that you choose to do this is the right way.
-layer half of your grated cheese with the beans and corn. If you have chosen a vegetable, slip it in now.
-Tear the remaining tortillas directly on top and pour your pink egg mixture over the entire dish.
-Top with remaining grated cheese and a little sprinkle of oregano.
Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until golden and the center has set. About 45 minutes. My children enjoy it as is, but we grown-ups love to top it off with a hot salsa verde. Serve it with simple green salad and, whether you've added a vegetable or not, you have a complete meal everyone will be happy about.
Now, I'm the type who loves to cook beans from scratch and spend time creating a special and complicated meal. As the busy holidays approach, what I really need is fast and healthy. I choose all organic ingredients so, even when there are frozen or canned short-cuts, I can feel good about what my family is eating. The beauty of this recipe is that is takes no more than ten minutes of prep, I'm not kidding! If you double the recipe and put it in a large "lasagna" tray, you can have left-overs to make the next evening easy also!
Hey, doubling the recipe means that you will need a dozen eggs! That's just how many eggs you will use if you blow eggs for your Cascarones from yesterday's post. Imagine that!
Thank you so much for your enthusiasm about my Small contribution. Your comments make it all worth-while. I get so genuinely happy and inspired by your enthusiasm. Yesterday was a busy blog day for me, I was also featured on design*sponge with my chair re-do. Thanks Grace, for putting it up! I'm thrilled to have made some new friends, and so very grateful to all of you that have been by my side all along. Hope you have a beautiful weekend... we're expecting more snow!