Sunday, July 22, 2007

July 17, 2007: Bean and tortilla bake

This dinner was very much inspired by Johanna's tortilla casserole over at Green Gourmet Giraffe. I liked the idea of tortillas baked and softened by a tomato-sauced, spicy beans and a crunchy, cheesy top. Even better, I had another packet of organic corn tortillas in the cupboard to trial it with. From that point, though, I just went with my intuition and the available ingredients rather than religiously following Johanna's recipe. My relatively neat circular tortilla layers were a successful alternative to Johanna's rip-'em-up approach but I didn't include enough canned tomatoes, rendering a moist but not saucy filling. This created a further misfortune: the chopped chipotle chilli spread its heat unevenly through the mix, supplying bland and fiery mouthfuls intermittently. These minor mishaps are easily addressed and I've noted below my intended changes for next time - I think this concept definitely deserves a second run. This dinner, however, was saved by a particularly good avocado, served on the side with a handful of salad greens.

Bean and tortilla bake

1/2 cup dried TVP mince
1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 button mushrooms, chopped
1 red capsicum, chopped
1 x 400g can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 x 400g can crushed tomatoes (I'll double it to 800g next time)
1 chipotle chilli, finely chopped, with 1/2 teaspoon of adobo sauce (I'll probably substitute a tablespoon of Spanish Creole Adobo spice mix next time)
4-6 tortillas
2/3 cup sharp cheddar, grated

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Rehydrate the TVP with an equal volume of hot water.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion until softened. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute. Next add the mushrooms, stirring to cook evenly. After a couple more minutes, add the capsicum, beans, tomatoes and chilli/spice. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Pour just enough of the bean filling into a casserole dish to cover the bottom. Fit a tortilla or two over the top, ripping them up to form a single layer that completely covers the dish. Alternate layers of filling and tortilla, finishing with a double layer of tortillas. Sprinkle over the grated cheese and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and beginning to brown.


  1. It still looks delicious and sounds like a great idea. I've really enjoyed catching up on your posts. Plenty of great ideas!

  2. Chillies always seem to do that to me too. You're happily chomping along and then walloped with a mouthful of searing heat. Love those flavours though - will check out the link to Spice Bazaar.

  3. Glad to have you back, Truffle! I'm looking forward to seeing what your travels have inspired you to eat at home.

    Lucy, I'm a real fan of this particular spice mix - we picked it up at the Food & Wine Festival a few months ago.

  4. Looks great Cindy - I was pleased that you didn't feel compelled to follow the recipe I used exactly because I think that fitting a recipe to your kitchen is the spirit of cooking! I think the most important thing about the recipe is the nice crisp cheese and tortilla on top!

  5. I absolutely agree, Johanna - it's all about the crunchy top with sharp cheddar melted onto it. :-D