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Friday, January 21, 2011

Mexican Lasagna - a take on Chilaquiles

Since nothing particularly "foodie" has happened around here since my last post early in January, I will give my dear readers one of my tried and true recipes: Mexican Lasagna. This recipe, adapted from one in Quick Vegetarian Classics by Jeanne Lemlin, is called Chilaquiles. But her version doesn't look much like the Mexican recipes I've found. Never mind. It's still quite tasty and a filling dish for a winter's night.

One of the hallmarks of Chilaquiles is the use of stale corn tortillas. Though stale tortillas are not required, this is a great way to use them up.

Mexican Lasagna
adapted from Chilaquiles in Quick Vegetarian Classics, Jeanne Lemlin
(serves 6 - 8)

1 ½ tbsp Olive Oil
2 Onions, finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
28 ounce Can Tomatoes, With Their Juice, chopped, if whole
16 ounce Can Kidney Beans, rinsed and drained
2 4 ounce Cans Mild Green Chiles, drained and minced
12 Corn Tortillas, cut into 1" strips
1 cup Sour Cream
8 ounces Grated Jack Cheese, lowfat is fine

1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add onions and garlic, and saute 10 minutes, or until onions are tender.

2. Stir in tomatoes and juice, kidney beans and chiles. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the juices begin to thicken. Remove from heat.

3. Spread half the sauce in a 12x7x2" casserole or baking pan. top with half the tortilla strips, half the sour cream, and half the cheese. Layer with remaining ingredients.

4. Bake 35 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Link to PDF of Mexican Lasagna recipe

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ham Bone Split Pea Soup

A ham with a bone. A boon to soup-lovers!

How I love split pea soup! And the best split pea soup starts with a meaty ham bone. I expect there are lots of ham bones in fridges right now. Hopefully, when you carved up your Christmas or New Year's ham, you did not discard the bone. If you had, that would be very sad. I nearly took off my husband's head when he went to toss our Christmas ham bone in the garbage. What a waste of fantastic hammy flavor! It is so simple to make split pea soup. The hardest part is pureeing some of the soup in the blender. You don't have to do this but it improves the texture of the soup a great deal.

Sharon's Ham Bone Split Pea Soup
(serves 6-8)

1 tablespoon Butter or Oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
2 Carrots, cut in half lengthwise then into ¼" slices
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 pound Dried Split Peas, rinsed and picked over
10 cups Ham Stock, or water, or combination of both
1 meaty Ham Bone
1 Bay Leaf
a few sprigs of fresh Thyme
1 cup Diced Ham
Salt , to taste (if using ham stock, may need none)
½ teaspoon Black Pepper
hot pepper sauce (optional)

Heat butter or oil in a large soup kettle over medium-low and cook  onions and carrots, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Add in garlic and cook another minute. Add split peas, ham stock or water, ham bone, bay leaf, and thyme and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally. If soup gets too thick, add 1 to 2 cups more water. Cook until split peas are tender, for about 2 hours. Discard bay leaf and thyme.

Ladle soup into a blender to fill blender container. Puree until smooth. You can puree some of the soup, or all of it, depending on what texture you like best. Return to soup kettle. Add ham meat to kettle and simmer soup, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt (if needed) and pepper. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.