I found this recipe in my files, and apparently, I put it there back in 2006. It’s from Living magazine, and it’s similar to other tortilla and bean layered casseroles I’ve made. It’s a versatile dish in that you can easily substitute ingredients here and there, but it is important to keep the moisture content as intended so the casserole doesn’t become soggy and so the cut pieces will hold their shape. I wasn’t able to find this exact recipe on the web site, so I’ll list it below, but there is a similar dish in the Everyday Food cookbook. In that book, it’s called tortilla and black bean pie, and it's a little different from this one. For this version from the magazine, you make a salsa verde which is layered with roasted poblanos, toasted tortillas, black beans, spinach, and cheese. You could save some time by purchasing pre-made salsa, but I had some green tomatoes and chiles to use from my CSA. The suggested method in the recipe involves sauteing onion, garlic, and tomatillos before adding chiles, but I prefer to place all those things with green tomatoes on a baking sheet and brown them under the broiler. Once browned on all sides, everything is pureed in a food processor with lime juice and cilantro.
For the casserole, corn tortillas were cut in half, brushed with oil, and toasted in the oven. They’re removed before they become crunchy, but they do become sturdier. Spinach leaves were cooked and drained, onion was sauteed with chopped roasted poblanos, and the black beans were cooked with garlic. I used a spring-form pan, and the first layer was 12 halves of tortillas which were overlapped in the bottom of the pan. Next, the poblano and onion mixture was added followed by half of the black bean mixture. That was topped with sour cream, since I forgot to buy Mexican crema, and then some salsa was added. Shredded monterey jack cheese was added, and then the layering was repeated with spinach instead of poblanos. Last, the casserole was topped with the remaining tortilla halves, salsa, and cheese.
I was surprised at how easily the spring-form ring was removed, and how easily the casserole was cut. It’s a dry enough mixture that there’s no danger of the layers sliding apart as each piece is plated. Now that I’ve looked at the other casserole in the Everyday Food book, I see it includes corn and green onions. Not that the version I made seemed lacking at all, but those will be great additions when I make this again.
Living Magazine March 2006
4 fresh poblano chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped
18 six inch corn tortillas, halved
10 ounces baby spinach leaves
1 small white onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c sour cream or Mexican crema
2 1/4 c salsa verde
1 1/2 c shredded monterey jack cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
-Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush cut tortillas on both sides with vegetable oil and place on two large baking sheets overlapping as needed. Bake for six minutes and rotate pans after three minutes. Set aside.
-Wash spinach and drain. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook spinach briefly just until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a colander to drain. Heat two tablespoons oil in skillet, add onion and saute until translucent. Add chopped poblanos, cook until heated through, and transfer to a bowl. Heat another two tablespoons oil in skillet and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and add black beans. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook until heated through.
-Line bottom of a 10-inch spring-form pan with 12 overlapping tortilla halves. Add poblano mixture, top with half the bean mixture, add one half cup of sour cream, and pour 3/4 c salsa on top. Spread 1/2 c shredded cheese on salsa. Repeat layers a second time using spinach instead of poblanos. Top casserole with remaining tortilla halves, salsa, and shredded cheese.
-Place spring-form pan on a baking sheet and bake until heated through, about 45 minutes to one hour. Let stand for 15 minutes before removing spring-form ring and serving. Serve with additional salsa.