It is everything I look forward to in a winter dish: comforting, good for you (depending on what you add to it) and easy. The bonus with this dish is the nice warm heat you get from the chili peppers and hot sauce. You can make it your own by adding a variety of extras based on what you like or what you have in the pantry. My sister and I have experimented with the optionals over the years; I have settled on always adding cumin, garlic, black beans and some type of vegetable. Last night, it was kale, but I also tossed in some diced ham (next time, I'll saute the ham with some onions before adding them). I am looking forward to leftovers for lunch today and, fingers crossed, tomorrow!
- 12 corn tortillas (the small ones) or 6 flour tortillas (the large ones)
- 1 medium chili pepper, chopped and seeded, or 1 4-ounce can of green chilies
- 2-3 cups grated cheese - cheddar, jack or another favourite
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk (see note 1)
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooked beans like black, pinto, white and kidney or chick peas
- sauteed onions and/or garlic
- sauteed diced or chopped vegetables like zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper, leeks, kale or spinach (see note 2)
- shredded chicken or diced ham - for a non-vegetarian version
- diced or thinly sliced tofu
- cumin, oregano, basil
- hot sauce or 1 to 3 teaspoons of diced canned chipotle chili in adobo sauce
note 2: Sauteeing does more than soften the vegetables and carmelize their flavour, it also gets rid of a lot of extra moisture. I have found that raw vegetables give off a lot of water during cooking, making it hard for the custard to set properly.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Butter or oil a 2-quart casserole dish. Tear half the tortillas into bite-sized pieces and spread them evenly in the dish. Spread half the chilies and half the cheese on top. Add in any of your optional additions, if you are using them. Tear the remaining tortillas and layer them on top. Top with the remaining chilies and cheese.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the buttermilk and the four eggs Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the casserole, pulling the tortillas aside to allow the mixture to spread evenly throughout the ingredients.
- Bake for 35 minutes, uncovered.
- Serve with sour cream or yogurt, salsa and/or guacamole. Makes a nice meal with a salad.