Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Toe-may-toes, Toe-mah-toes

Yesterday Peggy and I stopped by the Rio Valley Cannery in Donna and picked up a couple of cases of Rotel tomatoes. We chose mild because the original is way too hot for us. A case of 24 cans, no labels, some dents were $5 each making the cost a little over 20 cents a can. I had bought a case in March when Bill Stilson showed me where the cannery is located and I had run out last week. Rotel tomatoes are one of my staples. I use them for chili among other things and we certainly have been making chili on a regular basis while being in weather jail. Rio Valley Cannery, one of the hidden jewels of the Rio Grande Valley.

Lil Droogsma and I were both going to make the recipe below on Tuesday but each of us were out of a key ingredient so we both coincidentally passed. It is a good one and still on my radar now that I have tomatoes.

Spicy Green Chile Mexican Casserole with Ground Beef, Black Beans, and Tomatoes

(Makes 8 servings; recipe created by Kalyn and Jake with inspiration from Layered Mexican Casserole with Chicken, Green Chiles, Pinto Beans, and Cheese.)

1 can (26 or 27 oz.) whole green chiles, drained (be careful not to buy whole jalapenos, which look similar)
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed well with cold water and drained
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. + 1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef (less than 10% fat)
1 T taco seasoning (I use my homemade Taco Seasoning, but a purchased seasoning will work.)
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite dice tomatoes with juice
3 eggs, beaten well
1 cup Green Chile Enchilada Sauce (from a 15 oz. can, freeze the rest for another use.)
1 1/2 cups Low-Fat Mexican Four Cheese Blend (I use the blend from Costco which has 6 grams of fat in 1/4 cup)
low-fat sour cream for serving (optional)

I used my favorite Anchor Hocking 12 Cup Bake-and-Store Glass Casserole Dish for this recipe, but you can use any dish that's 8"x8" or 9"x9" with high sides.  (If you don't have a dish that size, I think a rectangular glass casserole dish would work to make a flatter casserole, although you might not be able to make an extra layer of green chiles in the middle.)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Dump the whole green chiles into a colander placed in the sink and let them drain while you prep the filling.  When the green chiles are drained, move them to a cutting board and then put the black beans in the colander, rinse with cold water, and let drain.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large heavy non-stick pan, add the onions, and saute over medium-high heat until onions are browned, about 5-6 minutes.  Remove onions to a small bowl.  Add the other teaspoon of olive oil and the ground beef and cook 6-8 minutes, or until the beef is well browned, breaking it apart with the turner as it cooks.  Add the taco seasoning and cook 1-2 minutes more.

Add the diced tomatoes and juice, drained black beans, and onions and turn heat to medium low.  Cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has evaporated.  (When you use the turner to push the mixture aside, the bottom of the pan should look nearly dry.)

While the meat mixture cooks use your fingers to open each of the whole chiles and then use a paper towel to wipe away the seeds and blot each chile as dry as you can get it.  (You will need 6-8 paper towels to do all the chiles, but don't skip this step.  If you don't remove the seeds, this dish will be extra spicy.)  Divide the chiles into 3 piles as you dry them.

Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray and make a layer of 1/3 of the chiles in the bottom of the dish.  Top with 1/2 the meat mixture.  Make another layer of chiles on top of the meat mixture, and top with the other 1/2 of the meat mixture.  Finish with a top layer of the last 1/3 of the chiles.

Beat the eggs and then whisk in the cup of Green Chile Enchilada sauce.   Pour this over the casserole and then use a fork or knife to gently push the ingredients aside so the egg/sauce mixture can run down into the layers.  Top with the grated cheese and cover the casserole dish with the lid or foil.

Bake covered for 30 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and the casserole is starting to bubble.  Remove the lid or foil and bake 20-25 minutes more.  If you want the top well-browned, switch to broil the last few minutes and brown the top.  This is easier to serve if you let it sit for about 10 minutes before cutting.  Serve hot, with a dollop of low-fat sour cream on top if desired.

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