Monday, July 14, 2008

Black Bean Tortilla Bake

This is a delicious new recipe I recently discovered in my, "What Can I Bring? Cookbook". I've had several requests for it and so have decided to post it here for all of you to enjoy! (See my variations listed at the bottom.)

2 T. vegetable oil
1 large red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped (1 cup)
1 medium-size onion, chopped (1 cup)
3 medium-size cloves garlic, minced
1 fresh jalapeno pepper (optional), cored, seeded, deveined, and chopped
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 oz) chopped tomatoes with green chilies, such as Rotel, undrained
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 T ground cumin
6 flour tortillas (7-8 inches each)
4 cups (1 lb.) shredded Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese blend

Shredded iceberg lettuce
Chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream
Lime wedges

1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Place the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, and jalapeno, if desired. Cook, stirring, until the onion softens, 2-3 minutes. Add both types of tomatoes, the black beans, and cumin and let simmer, stirring occasionally, uncovered, until the sauce is slightly reduced, 7-8 minutes.

3. Spread about 2 cups of the sauce in the bottom of a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Place 2 tortillas on top, overlapping them, then sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of the cheese over the tortillas. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the cheese, top it with 2 tortillas, and 1 1/2 cups of cheese. Repeat with the remaining sauce, 2 tortillas, and 1 cup of cheese. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.

4. Bake the casserole until it has cooked through and the cheese has melted, 35-40 minutes. Transfer the tortilla bake to a tray and serve it with the lettuce, cilantro, sour cream, and lime wedges on the side.

My variations:
Instead of buying canned black beans, I prepared my own and tossed them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. I think it really added to the overall flavor!
Also, I ommitted the jalapeno but:
Instead of the last cup of cheese on top, I placed squares of pepper jack cheese!
Lastly, I think perhaps it could use 2-3 more tortillas.

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