29 January 2009

Black Bean and Chard Enchilada Pie

Sorry for the flashy photo- it was the only one of the bunch that came out and as I liked this recipe so much, I just had to post it, even with the bad photo.

K* and I have been attempted to have Saturday study sessions this semester. With roommates stopping by, the Saturday paper inserts and about a hundred other things more interesting than our schoolwork, these sessions are never as productive as we'd want them to be. Especially for me, as I generally spend the last hour trying to decide what to make for dinner that night so I can stop at the grocery store on the way home. Last Saturday was really cold here so I wanted something comforting and warm but not too heavy. I came across an enchilada pie on one of the blogs that I read and decided that would be the perfect thing.

Of course, I'm almost never content to make the first recipe for anything that crosses my path, so I kept searching until I came across one for a chicken and swiss chard enchilada pie on the Food Network website. The chard intrigued me, as it's one of my new favorite vegetables, but I didn't really feel like dealing with chicken. It's not that I have anything against chicken per se but it seems to get thrown in a lot of recipes as a sort of protein filler, without regard to enhancing the flavor of the recipe at all. The chicken in this recipe, just cooked and shredded with no seasonings, filled that role to a T, so I decided to substitute black beans instead. Cheaper, easier and hopefully tastier.

I had the choice of two types of canned black beans a the store- regular and seasoned. Normally I'm skeptical of pre-seasoned products but these black beans only had onion, garlic and oregano added and were 35 cents cheaper than the plain beans so I was sold. When I got home and ready to cook, I noticed the recipe called for frying the tortillas in oil before assembling the pie. While this would prevent the tortillas from getting mushy, it would also add a layer of fat and fuss to the recipe that I really wasn't looking for. Instead, I popped the tortillas in the oven to dry out a bit while it was preheating.

While they were drying, I chopped and cooked the chard with garlic and made the blender tomato sauce and Zach shredded the cheese. Assembly took 5 minutes and after 20 in the oven, dinner was ready to go. I was a little nervous for my first forkful with all the changes I had made to the recipe, but I am happy to report it all went well. The beans had just the right amount of flavor and the chard added a hint of sweetness. The tortillas did get soft, but I sort of like that in a casserole. The sauce had great flavor but I would have liked it with more spice and in a greater quantity, so I've reflected that in the recipe below. This one is definitley going to make a reappearance (it would be great for a pot-luck and is also gluten free).

Black Bean and Chard Enchilada Pie
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine/FoodNetwork
Serves 6

2 t. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch Swiss chard (can close your hand easily around the stalks), leaves and stalks separated
1/4 C (60ml) water
2 cans (14oz/400ml each) seasoned black beans, drained and rinsed (or use plain and add a pinch of cumin and coriander
12 small corn tortillas
I recipe Mexican-style tomato sauce, recipe follows
1/2 C (125ml) chicken or vegetable broth
8oz (225g) sharp cheddar or monterey jack or a blend

- Preheat the oven to 350F. While the oven is heating, spread the tortillas directly on the racks and allows to dry until they are leathery but not brittle. Set aside for later.

- Cut the chard stalks into small pieces. Add the chard stalks, water and garlic to a large skillet, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Chop the chard leaves into pieces and add to the stalks. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until the chard is tender. Drain well. Mix the chard with the beans.

- Spread about 1/2 C(125ml) tomato sauce on the bottom of a 13x9 baking dish and top with a single layer of 4 tortillas. Spread on half of the chard and bean mixture, 1/3 of the cheese and 1 C. of tomato sauce. Place another 4 tortillas on top and repeat. Place the last 4 tortillas on top, top off with the remaining sauce and then the rest of the cheese.

- Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. Serve immediately.

Mexican Style Tomato Sauce

1 35oz (1000ml) can plum tomatoes with their juice
1 onion, chopped coarsely
2 garlic cloves, chopped coarsely
2 fresh jalapeno chiles (use more or less depending on your spice preference)
1 tablespoons vegetable oil

- Blend first 4 ingredients in your blender until smooth.

- Heat oil in a large skillet. Pour in tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Use in recipe above.


glamah16 said...

I love Chard. This is perfect for leftovers and people coming through. No worries about the photo. I can tell its delicious.

Nana said...

I made up something very similar last night...used fresh spinach rather than chard. Did not use any broth, but used about 1 and 1/2 cans of Hatch's green chili sauce spread on top (poked thru all layers w/ a fork to get some of the sauce down to the 2 layers of beans, spinach, corn tortillas and cheddar cheese. The only seasoning I used (Hatch sauce is slightly spicy) was some cumin and chili powder sprinkled on the bean and spinach mixture. VERY easy and yummy. I had some rice in the rice cooker going (also w/ a bit of chili pwdr and cumin)...I put about 1 cup of rice on the plate and put a scoop of the casserole on top. I used 2 cans black beans (rinsed) , about 8 oz fresh spinach (sauted in skillet), about 1 cup of cheddar cheese, 12 corn tortillas (torn up) and 1 1/2 cans green chili sauce.