I have a natural aversion to anything attached to the term “casserole.” Growing up in the 80s attending frequent Lutheran potlucks and soup dinners. I have seen many casserole tragedies I’d care not to repeat – most included that gloopy staple – cream-of-whatever soup. There were definitely good dishes, too, but mostly the potluck table failed to live up to what my mom made for us every night at home. In fact, many folks would scope out which dish my mom brought and dive into that one first because she had a reputation as a very good cook. The reputation was certainly well-earned.
In my own kitchen, casseroles are few and far between. Most have some form of pasta or heavy dairy component, which I clearly avoid in my post-gluten and limited-dairy life. And maybe this isn’t a casserole either, but it does have layers, is briefly baked in the oven and has a sprinkle of cheese on top. Close enough. This isn’t a traditional chilaquile recipe either, but it has the essential elements, and it’s pretty easy to throw it all together and pop it in to bake. The leftover homemade tortillas give the chilaquiles a nice heartiness, and I like how the handmade tortillas hold up when baked with spicy tomato sauce. We topped each serving with an egg, though it would be plenty hearty without. I’ll just use any excuse to enjoy a perfect over-easy egg with my dinner.
Serves 2 (with a little for leftovers)
5 leftover homemade tortillas
2 T olive oil, divided
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 jalepeno, seeded and sliced
1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce or salsa
salt to taste
1 1/2 oz grated chihuahua or jack cheese
cilantro and sliced scallions for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Stack the tortillas and cut them in half, then slice into 1/3″ width matchsticks, and scoop them into a medium sized mixing bowl. Drizzle 1 T olive oil over the tortillas and quickly toss to lightly coat the tortillas, then sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt. Pour the tortillas onto a baking sheet in one layer, and bake for 10 minutes, then stir, and bake for another 5 minutes. Remove the tortillas from the oven and set aside. The tortillas should be toasted, but not completely hard all the way through – still a little chewy.
- While the tortillas bake, make the tomato sauce: Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the onions and jalepenos and saute for 3-4 minutes, until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the tomato sauce, stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the tortillas are toasted.
- Take out a small casserole or pie pan, and spoon about 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce into the bottom of the pan, covering the bottom. Pile the toasted tortillas on top in an even layer, then spoon the remainder of the tomato sauce over the top. Sprinkle the chihuahua cheese over the top, and bake for 15 minutes. During the last three minutes of baking, cook 2 eggs to a perfect over-easy. Scoop the chilaquiles onto plates and top each serving with an egg, cilantro and scallions.