I have an incredible weakness for Mexican food. I love good authentic Mexican food. In fact, when I traveled to Mexico for work a few years ago, I ate at the street carts two blocks from my hotel instead of at a real restaurant. The food was unbelievably good and so cheap. It was fresh and hot and perfectly seasoned. The food vendors got such a kick out of the gringa, who could speak Spanish, patronizing their little stand day after day. It was some of the best food I have ever had.
Mexican restaurants around here tend to fall into two categories- tex mex fast food ish or we-serve-tasteless-rice-and-beans-and greasy-food type restaurant. While I will gladly eat at Chipotle five days a week it does little to satisfy the craving for good non-greasy hearty Mexican food. There was a teeny tiny hole in the wall taco stand that used to be amazing but as they bettered their restaurant they let their food standards slip.
So I have been eating lots of Chipotle these days and wishing I could transplant one of those tiny taco stands from Mexico City into my backyard. And then I ran across the recipe I am sharing today. It was the perfect storm- I either knew immediately where to get all the ingredients or I already had them all in my fridge, I had time to cook, and I NEEDED good hearty food. Peppers are still plentiful at the market stands around here so I was even able to score some local Anaheim chilies.
The only down side to this recipe was it didn’t make enough. It made a tiny 8×11 pan, which I could have eaten all by myself. But nooooo…. I had three boys in my house, in addition to my sister and me, and this was devoured in 3.2 seconds flat. Does this happen to anyone else? You make something you feel ok about and it lasts for weeks. You make something you want to keep all to yourself and devour while watching Downton Abbey under a blanket and everyone else eats it up. Sigh.
I’m glad it was shared and enjoyed though. At least when I reminisce about it I will have four other witness who will agree that this is quite possibly the best dish I have ever made.
Chili Relleno Casserole (barely feeds 5 if you include hungry boys)
6 Anaheim chilies
3 tbsp flour
3 tbsp sour cream
1 3 oz can of sliced black olives
12 oz Mexican blend cheese< 1 can black beans, rinsed & drained 1 1/2 cups shredded chicken (I used leftover bbq chicken)
1 can/packet green enchilada sauce (I used this sauce as it didn’t have artificial ingredients)
Rinse chilies and place on a baking sheet covered in foil. Move oven rack to very top of oven and broil chilies for about 5 minutes on each side or until skin is blackened. Remove from oven and place in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Remove chilies. Skin and remove veins and seeds. Cut into strips. Preheat oven to 350℉. Combine eggs, flour, sour cream, olives, salt and pepper to taste then mix thoroughly. Coat a baking dish with butter. Start layering the casserole using 1/2 of the ingredients- first chilies. then eggs mixture, then cheese, then beans, then meat. Repeat. Sprinkle the top with a bit more cheese then smother in the enchilada sauce. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes (pop under the broiler for a minute or two if the top isn’t crispy enough). Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.