Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What's Cookin': Legacy Black Bean Casserole

This post is for a sweet friend who wrote to me about a Facebook post I did a couple of weeks ago.  Basically I did a picture play-by-play of the courses I was making for a dinner party later that same evening (I had no idea that it would be such a popular post - the best comment I got was that it was "like live food porn" - which made me laugh out loud and blush at the same time) .

Well, the main dish was called "Suzi's Legacy Black Bean Casserole".   The story is that a few years ago, back when we were living in Pennsylvania, my friend Suzi (who you may remember from this post) brought this AMAZING dish to a birthday party we were both invited to.  Now Suzi and I have a lot of things in common which form the basis of our friendship, but the single most important element has always been our abiding love of good eats.

So. When Suzi brought her Black Bean Casserole to the party I was drawn to it like a moth to a black bean-y and slightly spicy southwestern flame.  I couldn't get enough.  I just HAD to know how to make it, or else my life would not be complete and I would die an unhappy foodie.  We can't be having that now.  The details are fuzzy but I believe there was some amount of stalking involved.  And that's how the "Legacy" part got thrown in - I remember commenting to Suzi about how her casserole was SO delicious that the recipe simply had to have been passed down from generation to generation, with every generation adding and substituting ingredients until you had a dish of black bean PERFECTION. When Suzi finally did email me the recipe (which didn't take her long at all...it just felt like a long time to me because I was ADDICTED to the stuff already.  A casserole junkie - that was me), she titled it:

Suzi's Legacy Black Bean Casserole

1 medium onion, chopped
1/2  teaspoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
A little bit of red pepper flake (I use chili powder because that's what I have at home)
1 cup (approx) cheap-o salsa... the cheaper, the better!
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of lime juice (that's an approximation - I usually taste everything and add more if needed)
20-30 shakes of ground cumin (maybe about 1-2 tsp)
3 cans of black beans
About 2 cups of shredded cheese (I use Mexican blend or Colby-jack)

Chopped Jalapeño
A dash of Tabasco sauce and/or Liquid Smoke (if you like it spicy)
Chipotle sauce
Sour Cream

Heat your oven to 350° F

In a pan, sautée the onions, garlic, bell peppers, red pepper flake/chili powder and the jalapeños (if you are putting that in).  I don't normally use any oil to sautée - I just add a tiny bit of water when things start to stick.  But you could use a bit of oil too if that floats your boat. When those become soft, add the salsa, tomatoes, lime juice and cumin (this is where you'd add the chipotle sauce if you wanted to - I haven't found a vegetarian chipotle sauce, so I've never added it, and mine tastes great without it.  This is also where I add the tabasco sauce and/or liquid smoke if we're feeling like we want a bit of heat).  Let it all simmer for a little while, until it reduces a bit and isn't so watery.  Then add your beans to the pan and cook till it's all combined and heated, like so (sorry for all the bad pics, they're from the live Facebook posts I did a couple of weeks ago):

Get out a 9x12 (or whatever size those big glass rectangle pans are) and spray it with non-stick spray.  Put down a layer of beans then top with cheese and then tortillas (I cut my tortillas to fit all the way around the pan.  Because I'm anal.  You don't have to be like me). Repeat, and finish with beans.

At this point, Suzi suggests poking holes in the casserole with a butter knife because sometimes the tortillas get all puffy and it leaks out in to the oven.  I usually do what she tells me to do because I don't want to mess with the Legacy mojo.  So far I've not have any poofyness or leakyness!

Cover with tin foil and bake for 45 min.  Pull it out, top with the rest of the cheese, and let it sit about 5 minutes to firm up.

Suzi also suggests cutting up an avocado, some cilantro and getting out the sour cream to top the casserole on the plate.  Believe me, it tastes SO FREAKING GOOD.

So really, you can make it super simple, or add some extra touches too.  For those that are avoiding dairy, you could omit the cheese altogether and add more beans or veggies.  We've done it that way and it tastes really good and filling.  If you want to make it healthier you could add spinach into the veggie mix - that also tastes very very awesome.  I also use tortillas with flax in them, which makes me feel like I'm offsetting the cheese and sour cream-induced oblivion that inevitably follows when I gorge on this dish.  Lastly, this makes a TON of food, so it's great for freezing, for leftovers, for birthday parties where people will stalk you for the recipe, and for dinner parties that involve lots of food porn.

And for Tiph, who requested the recipe - I hope you love this as much as we do. Let it never be said that I denied a gorgeous pregnant mama her cravings!

blog comments powered by Disqus
Related Posts with Thumbnails