Once upon a time, on a glorious weekly holiday known affectionately as "Taco Tuesday", I whipped up a killer comfort dish layered with fresh corn tortillas, ground pork, refried beans, potatoes, cheese, chipotle peppers, and tons of cheese. I had a full house that night, so wanted to serve it up family style! I didn't know what to call it....it was some kind of big cheesy pork layered enchilada type bake thing!
I posted the obligatory picture on the book of faces. It was a hit! The first comment was my buddy...The Reverend Jim Forrester. He said he "needed" that recipe! Shit, I thought to myself, there is no recipe, I just made this huge flavored dish up on the fly! So I retraced my steps, and wrote it all down! But what to call it? The answer was simply right in front of my face: Reverend Jim's Mexican Lasagna!
I met the Rev a couple of times off and on, but it was on the set of "Braising Hell" that I really got to know him. What a great dude. Honest and real, no holds barred. Super talented and to paraphrase the great Deniro, "he knows a thing or two about a thing or two..."
I encourage you to check out his bands, ,Foghound, and Serpents of Secrecy (who I was lucky enough to see their debut show in person, my ears are still ringing!) Jim was also the bass player in the legendary Sixty Watt Shaman! Aside from being an all around great dude, husband, working man, and family man...he's also an amazing artist! Check out his blend of dark art, rants, and opinions at Arcane Recorporations.
Reverend Jim! Here is your recipe!
Reverend Jim's Mexican Lasagna
1 lb Ground Pork
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tbl Cumin, 1 Tbl Chili Powder, and a 1/2 Tbl Oregano
1 Tbl Tomate Paste
1 Tbl Chipotle Puree ( open a can of Chipotle peppers and puree them in a blender!)
1 19oz can Red Enchilada Sauce
1 Tomato, chopped
1 Cup Diced Potatoes, Cooked ( I like to fry ahead of time, but you can bake or boil, or buy them already cooked!)
1/2 lb Grated Colby Jack cheese
1 can Refried Beans (heated in microwave to make easier to spread)
18 Corn Tortillas
Scallions, Cilantro, and Sour Cream to serve
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
If potatoes are not already cooked, fry them in a little olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. When done, set aside in a bowl with the diced tomato. This is one layer of your "lasagna".
Using same pan, cook ground pork over med/high heat until done, no pink. Drain and set aside. Again, using same pan set to medium heat, cook onion and garlic in 1 Tbl olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add spices, tomato paste, and chipotle. Stir all together, combine those flavors.
Add 1/3 can of the Enchilada Sauce, add pork back in...stir together. Set aside.
Now we're ready to layer! Using a 9 inch rectangular backing dish (or whatever the hell you have!) Spread 1/3 can of sauce on bottom of dish. Top with six tortillas, covering the entire bottom of the dish. Carefully spread the can of beans on top of the first layer of tortillas.
Top the beans 1/4 of your grated cheese. Top the bean and cheese with four corn tortillas.
Next layer, top tortillas with potato/tomato mixture. Top with four more tortillas.
Next layer, top tortillas with pork mix. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cheese on top of the pork. Top with six tortillas, completely covering everything! Spread the remaining enchilada sauce over the top, and then sprinkle remaining cheese over everything!
Cover casserole with foil (one side brushed or sprayed with oil, so it won't stick to cheese). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and back for 20 to 30 minutes more until it looks like you can't wait to eat this son of a bitch!
Let cool 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into squares. Top with sliced scallions, chopped cilantro, and serve with sour cream on the side!
Jim...thanks for being a friend!!!