Baked Tortillas with Cream and Cheese

A very quick vegetarian entree, our baked tortilla casserole could be an even more substantial main dish with the addition of grated veggies like zucchini or carrot, frozen of fresh corn kernels or sauteed peppers and onions.

Step 1 - Make the Tomato Sauce. Heat 2 T. vegetable oil in a skillet and cook over medium heat 1 chopped onion and 1 clove of chopped garlic until the onion softens. Now add 2 chopped large tomatoes, 1-2 diced jalapeno peppers and 1 T. minced cilantro (leaves and thin stems both). Simmer until the tomatoes break apart, adding a few tablespoons of water here and there to obtain a sauce-like consistency. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Set aside now and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. While you're doing that also lightly oil a quart-size casserole or baking dish.

Cut 12 small corn tortillas into thick slices. Older, dry tortillas are fine, if not ideal, for this recipe.

Heat about 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Quickly fry the tortilla strips, about 5 seconds on each side. Remove to a nearby plate and continue frying all in batches. Do not let the tortillas brown or become crisp.

The fried tortillas will have a soft, pliable texture and be golden, not brown, in color.

Pour half the tomato sauce in to the bottom of the prepared baking dish. As you'll see above, we pureed ours in the blender but that's totally optional.

Arrange half the tortilla strips on top of the tomato sauce then cover them with a cream sauce made by adding 1/4 cup of water to 3/4 cup of sour cream. Stir just to thin out the sour cream enough to a pouring consistency. Sprinkle this layer with salt and black pepper and then top with the remaining tortillas. Cover those with the remaining tomato sauce and sprinkle everything with 1 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven, uncovered and let rest 5 or 10 minutes before slicing into wedges or squares. Enjoy warm or hot.

Dinner at Cafe Drake HRV in Late Summer: Tortillas baked with Cream and Cheese, Braised Kale from the CDHRV gardens and a cold salad of chickpeas, homegrown pear and grape tomatoes, red onions and green chili peppers.
And leftovers for lunch, with pumpkin seeds and tomato salad.


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