Mexican Lasagna


I want to hate The Pioneer Woman.  I really do.  She cooks massive quantities of food for her family of six on a working cattle ranch, yet is svelte and gorgeous.  She has a wildly successful cooking site and blog.  She even has a cookbook and another book on the way (no fair, mommy, she has TWO cookbooks published and I don't have any ... waaaaah!).

But I can't hate PW.  I just looooove her high-calorie butter-laden recipes!  And I loooove her writing!  I want to write just like her if I ever grow up.  

PW's sites are so good that she doesn't even have to come up with original recipes anymore because zillions of people are able to post THEIR recipes on HER site (she creates recipes, anyway.  But she really doesn't have to.  But I love that she does.   By the way, those recipes that zillions of people post are not bad either.  One of those zillions of people include Father Ryan.  I don't know much more about him than his name and that his recipe for Mexican Lasagna is so good that other recipe sites repost the same exact recipe, maybe with his permission even and sometimes with accreditation. 

The original recipe contains ground beef.  I left out the ground beef because my family (and by "my family" I mean me) prefers a dairy lasagna.  Because the original recipe serves 8 and I didn't feel like eating Mexican Lasagna several days in a row, I halved, significantly reduced or made optional most of the remaining ingredients to get the recipe down to a more manageable size for my family and oven.  Turns out that Father Ryan must cook for a professional football team or lumberjacks.  Or cattle ranch hands, because despite leaving out, significantly reducing or making optional most of the remaining ingredients, I still had enough Mexican Lasagna to serve it several days in a row.  UPDATE -- after revisiting the original recipe, I was chagrined to discover that I missed where Father Ryan casually mentions that his recipe will "feed 20+ people."  Oopsie.

Don't faint at the whole tablespoon of chili powder.  Remember, the quantity produced will feed the Brady Bunch.  Or a bunch of Hadassah ladies.   Plus I had already reduced the quantity to a bar minimum, so you don't have to.

 My new favorite sauce is roasted (equals medium spicy) salsa verde.   I've found at least two brands that are kosher, so you have no excuse not to try it.

I used mild taco sauce only because I was too lazy in a hurry to start making it from scratch, even though it's pretty easy.  I rationalized that due to the massive quantities of the other flavorful ingredients, no one would notice.  And I was right.  At least, I think I was right.  By the way, I've also since discovered several kosher brands of enchilada sauce as well.

Just as an aside, despite the massive quantity of Mexican Lasagna produced, everyone agreed that this recipe is a keeper.  So lastly, I also adjusted upwards the stated servings to more accurately describe the yield.

Mexican Lasagna
adapted from Father Ryan's recipe posted on The Pioneer Woman
Serves 6-8

2 cups rice, uncooked
3 1/2 cups vegetarian chicken broth (low-sodium preferred)
2 medium-sized tomatoes
1 medium-sized onion
1 Tbl. chopped garlic (bottled okay)
1 Tbl.olive oil
1 Tbl.chili powder
1/2 Tbl. paprika
1/2 Tbl. cumin
1 can (15 ozs.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 jar (12-16 ozs.) roasted (medium) or regular (mild) salsa verde
6-10 Flour Tortillas (depending upon pan size)
1 package (16 Ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend (or sharp cheddar)
1/2 (16 oz) jar enchilada or mild smooth taco sauce
12 oz. bag frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 cup chopped Cilantro, to garnish
Sour cream, to taste (optional) to garnish

Heat veggie chicken broth in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add rice, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.  Rice might not be quite done, but that's okay.

Chop tomatoes and onions.  I coarsely (cookspeak for semi-large pieces) chopped them, but you can dice them if you prefer.

Heat large skillet over medium-high heat.  When hot, add olive oil, wait 10 seconds, the add tomatoes, onions and garlic.  Cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes until onions are softened..

Stir in  chili powder, paprika and cumin.

Then add black beans. 

A whole can of beans sounds like a lot, but it spreads out, as you can see.   Now stir in cooked rice (along with any unabsorbed broth) into tomato mixture.

Spread half of the jar of salsa verde in the bottom of a large casserole or baking dish.

Layer on tortillas covering salsa verde, overlapping slightly or tearing tortillas to fit if necessary.  Kinda looks like Pac-Man, which means it needs another tortilla.

MUCH better!  I used a total of 3 tortillas, but your mileage may vary.

Spread half of rice mixture over tortillas.

Sprinkle half of cheese on top of rice layer. 

Add another layer of tortillas on top of the cheese layer.

Pour enchilada (or taco) sauce over the tortillas and schmear it around.

Add layer of corn next. Gee, so many layers!  But don't despair... we're almost done.

Now layer on the remaining rice mixture on top of corn layer.

The remaining salsa verde ....

 ...  followed by the remaining cheese.  We're done with the layering.

For now ...

Bake at 375º for 25-35 minutes until cheese has melted and begins to brown a bit.

Looks lovely ... AND delicious!   But wait!  One more layer. 

Sprinkle on the cilantro.  Mazel tov!  You're done!

Don't use a large serving spoon to serve, as I did.  Use a sharp knife to cut wedges, or else the whole thing will mush up like in the photo.  Add a dollop of sour cream, if desired (I didn't).  You can also sprinkle some additional cilantro on top of the sour cream as well (which I didn't either).


AidelK said…
This looks yummy. Love the way you posted--looks a little like PW with the photos & explanations.
The Mom Chef said…
Great job with this re-make. I've actually not done much with Pioneer Woman's site. I guess I'll have to go check it out. Maybe I'll find Father Ryan there too.

In the meantime, your recipe looks outstanding and might just be something I'll try. Thanks for cutting it down to our family of 3's size.
lasagna recipes said…
We're all lasagna lovers in the family, even my youngest who's only 3 loves it, too. I think your recipe here is mine and hubby's kind of lasagna. I will definitely try it. All my four kids are loving mushroom and spinach lasagna lately. That's pretty amazing considering they're really not into veggies.
dena said…
@AidelK: you are right about the "little like" part ... PW takes MUCH better photos than I do. I don't have the "eye" for it.

@lasagna recipes: I wish my family would like mushroom and/or spinach lasagna. I'm the only one who does. The only spinach they will eat is in spinach sauce over pasta.

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