Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Mexican Lasagna Recipe

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 1, 2019

Mexican lasagna!?!

Yeah.

The first layer is soft corn tortillas. Be sure to cover the sides of the dish.

That’s what I thought when I read the text message sent to me by a friend.

I’d never heard of “Mexican lasagna,” but the ingredients and pictures intrigued me, so I decided that I’d try my hand at it. After all, I do enjoy cooking, because for me, it’s a creative outlet. And besides… who DOESN’T like eating, eh?

Layer as you wish. But first place a layer of sauce atop the soft corn tortillas, followed by the meat. Seen here, the pinto beans with sausage atop a layer of vegetables (onion, olives, tomatillos, salsa verde, tomaotes, bell pepper, cilantro, etc.) and cheese. Mustn’t forget the Pepper Jack cheese!

And, like most recipes, I make it my own, because as I see it, recipes are essentially broad guidelines, rather than precise and exacting hard-and-fast rules for cooking or preparing any dish.

Top with crushed corn tortilla chips before adding the next layer.

So, I set off to procure the ingredients which I didn’t have on hand, purposely omitting any ingredients which I didn’t think “fit,” and adding ones which I thought would accentuate the dish.

Be GENEROUS with the veggies and other ingredients. DO NOT BE STINGY!

The traditional and original lasagna, of course, is an Italian dish made with wide and elongated noodles upon which are placed layers of meat, tomato sauce and other ingredients such as onions, black olives, ricotta cheese, etc. With Mexican lasagna, the ingredients are those common to Mexican cooking, and in lieu of noodles, soft corn tortillas are used.

Here’s my ingredients list (your mileage may vary):

Soft corn tortillas (6 inch size)
Corn tortilla chips

Canned diced tomatoes
Tomato paste
Tomatillos
Salsa verde
Avocadoes
Cilantro
Black olives
Bell peppers
Jalapaño peppers
Onions – red, white & sweet

Chorizo
Ground beef
Pork Sausage
Pinto beans
Pepperjack cheese

Mole sauce – made my own, with extra chocolate

Cumin
Basil
Oregano
Paprika
Savory
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Bay leaves
Pepper
Salt

See how some of the avocado is mushed? That’s the JUST RIGHT level of ripeness. Some folks buy avocados that are not ripe enough and wonder why their finished product didn’t turn out well, or was difficult to produce. Wonder no more. Get ‘em SOFT!

Here’s the prep: WASH ALL VEGETABLES – INCLUDING AVOCADOS AND CILANTRO – IN SOAPY WATER WITH A CAPFUL OF PLAIN UNSCENTED HOUSEHOLD BLEACH!! Then rinse & dry. Onions get a pass since they’re peeled.

Use a pressure cooker to prepare the (dry, of course) pinto beans with sausage & bay leaves, black pepper, garlic powder, basil, oregano, and salt. Remember to REMOVE the bay leaves after cooking. Why? Ever swallowed a bay leaf? You don’t want to. It hurts. They’re very hard and tough. Even pressure cooking doesn’t soften them up sufficiently. If you can find some ground bay leaves, go for it! Problem solved.

See how the top is being finished? It’s becoming decorative.

I soaked the soft tortillas in water to make them more pliable. They could also be steamed. Line a casserole type dish with them as seen. Be sure to cover the sides.

Cook the chorizo and ground beef together.

Julienne (thinly slice) the bell peppers. Finely dice the jalapeños. (Might want to wear a disposable pair of gloves for that task.) Slice and/or dice the onions as you wish. Chop the cilantro. Slice the tomatillos. Shred the PepperJack cheese. Slice/dice the olives as you like.

I put some mole sauce atop it all, and sliced some avocado atop it all.

I used a mole paste and added to it what I wanted, which was extra chocolate powder, garlic powder, black pepper, cumin, and combined it with tomato paste, to which I added the black olives brine, juice from the diced tomatoes (both add extra flavor, you know), and tap water to the desired consistency.

Spread the sauce on the soft corn tortillas. Then layer on some meat. Add the vegetables, pinto beans with sausage, salsa verde, diced tomatoes, black olives, etc., cheese, crushed tortilla chips atop them, and if desired, add another round of sauce.

The finished product!

A note on the avocados: Don’t cut your hand while removing the pit. If you’re not experienced enough to use a knife for that purpose in the traditional way, or if the seed is small, or avocado ripe enough, just use a spoon, or gently pry it out with the knife tip. Then spoon out the whole meat from the shell (the avocado should be soft, and skin should be black, yielding to gentle pressure), and slice it. It works best with the flat side down on the cutting board.

Repeat the process with another layer of soft tortillas, vegetables, meat, beans, cheese, etc. Finish as desired.

Cook in the oven about 30 minutes+/- at between 350°F–400°F.

The process/progress pics are herein.

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