So. I have something I’ve wanted to tell you guys for months but couldn’t because everything was all up-in-the-air and iffy and totally undecided and it was unclear when/where/if it would ever happen.
In just a few short weeks (okay….31 days to be exact), The.Boy and I are moving! Together! Into a sort-of-studio in my building!
I’m not quite sure how this is happening.
No, literally. I practically need a second apartment as is for all my cookbooks and when you add my spices, pantry ingredients, bakeware, and mismatched plates into the mix….it’s a tad bit absurd.
Which means I have from now until April 27th to convince The.Boy of the necessity and astounding worth of every one of my possessions. Or out they go.
Let’s get to this.
Recently I baked my new favorite casserole in my longtime favorite 9×13-inch pan.
What I love most about the pan is that it has square corners. Do you know how hard it is to find a square or rectangular baking pan with square corners? They all have those rounded edges that are super annoying when you’re baking a sheet cake or brownies or anything that you want to actually be quadrangular.
So while I’m absolutely non-negotiably without question keeping the pan. I thought I would show that I can, contrary to popular belief, compromise on other things.
Case in point – when faced with the dilemma of choosing between dried chipotle peppers and dried anchos for this casserole….I went with the latter. Because I knew there was no way my darling boyfriend could take the heat of the former. And as a result, he thought that the amount of heat was just perfect in that it was barely there. Even with toning it down, this dish was incredibly richly flavored and I was so sad yesterday when I ate the last piece. I should warn you that it needs a good chunk of time to make it in, but you can prepare each of the components separately and then assemble them right before you want to cook it if that makes it easier.
Layered Pasilla-Tortilla Casserole with Black Beans, Mushrooms and Chard
Serves 6, adapted from Dana Treat
For the pasilla sauce:
- 1/2 head garlic, broken apart but not peeled
- 6 medium dried pasilla chiles (or anchos or chipotles), seeded and stemmed
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp dried cumin
- olive oil
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- sea salt
For the mushroom layer:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium portabello mushrooms, black gills scraped out, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch swiss chard, leaves torn off the stalks and roughly chopped
For the casserole:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 lb dried black beans, soaked overnight and cooked until tender
- 6 flour tortillas
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt
- 6 oz feta cheese
- For the sauce, roast the unpeeled garlic on an ungreased skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally until soft, about 15 minutes. Cool and peel. While the garlic is roasting, toast the chiles on another side of the skillet. Open them and press down firmly onto the hot surface with a spatula for a few seconds flip them and do the same to the other side. In a small bowl, cover the chiles with hot water and rehydrate for 30 minutes. In a food processor, combine the chiles, garlic, oregano, cumin and about 1/3 cup of the chile water. Blend to a smooth puree, scraping down the sides if necessary.
- With a rubber spatula, work the chile paste through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Heat a tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the paste and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until dark and thick, about 4 minutes. Stir in the broth and simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- To make the beans, heat a tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and a large pinch of salt. Cook until brown in spots, about 10 minutes. Add the beans and heat through. Using a potato masher, mash the beans to a coarse puree, adding water if necessary to thin them out. Season with salt to taste. Cover and keep warm.
- For the mushroom filling, heat another tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and a large pinch of salt. Saute, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to give off their liquid. Add the garlic and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the chard and saute until it is nice and soft and the pan is dry, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste.
- To assemble the casserole, first spread 1/3 of the chile sauce on the bottom of a 9×13-inch pan. Line with two tortillas. Cover with the bean filling, another layer of tortillas, another 1/3 of the sauce, half the greek yogurt and half the cheese. Top with the mushroom mixture. Add the final layer of tortilla halves, the remaining chile sauce, the remaining greek yogurt, and the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes to set before cutting.