While everyone else has been revving their engines since Thanksgiving to go Christmas shopping, around here, all I can think about is Christmas cookies. Get ready, the cookies are coming. But just so you don't think it's all baking, all the time around here, I wanted to share this very tasty veggie casserole.
This recipe comes from Doña Tomás, an interior Mexican restaurant in Oakland. Their food focuses on big flavors, fresh produce and less grease. I posted about their Sopa de Lima earlier in the year. This recipe will become another favorite from their book. You make a sort of tortilla lasagne with mushrooms, chard, corn and cheese. Fresh corn tortillas and fresh corn off the cob are essential for this dish. Their sweetness elevates the flavor into something amazing.
The original recipe calls for huitlacoche, which is a kind of corn fungus. It grows like a mushroom directly on corn and is considered a delicacy. But I've never seen it here. I'd love to try it, but I had to substitute shiitakes. The recipe also calls for a mix of Monterey Jack and mozzarella cheeses. We found the mozzarella too stringy so I'm going to make it with all Jack next time. Use more or less poblanos, depending on how spicy you want it.
As a shortcut, I used a salsa we've recently gotten turned on to, Native Texan brand salsa. I used the roasted tomato, but you could also use chipotle, if you wanted to spice it up. You'll need at least 4-5 cups. You'll want plenty for the casserole layers and more for serving.
The recipe says this serves 6, but it made a monster batch and we weren't shy about our portions. We loved this stuff. You could easily serve 8 with it.
Corn Tortilla Casserole with Chard & Mushrooms
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
4-5 ears fresh corn on the cob, husked and kernals cut off
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, cut into strips
2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
12 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
20 fresh corn tortillas
4-5 cups tomato salsa (we liked Native Texan brand, roasted tomato flavor)
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a skillet, add the onion and sauté until translucent.
Add the corn and mushrooms and sauté until tender.
Remove the corn mixture from the pan, put in a bowl and set aside.
Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and sauté the chard until wilted.
Add the chard to the bowl of corn.
Add the poblanos to the veggie mixture and stir together. Add salt to taste.
Oil a 9x13 baking pan.
Spread 1/2 cup of the tomato salsa in the bottom of the pan. Layer the bottom of the pan with tortillas, trying not to overlap. You may need to cut some of the tortillas into quarters to completely cover. Add more sauce, a layer of veggies, a layer of cheese and then repeat. The last layer should have salsa, then cheese on top. (You won't use all the salsa. You'll want to save some for serving. Heat the remaining salsa in the microwave or over low heat until just warm.)
Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until cheese is golden and casserole is heated completely through. Cover with foil during the last 10 minutes, if necessary, to avoid overbrowning.
Remove from oven and let cool for at least 10 minutes before you cut into it. This will help the layers stay together.
Place a spoonful of warm salsa on a plate and then top with a piece of the casserole to serve. You may want more salsa on the side.
Adapted from the Doña Tomás cookbook.