Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chile Reno Casserole

This easy Chile Reno Casserole recipe is a great way to enjoy your favorite Mexican Dish deconstructed and without being fried.

Spring is off an running. In our house that means longer hours of farming, dirtier children and a lot of outdoor play. Thank goodness, I think the little ones were tired of being cooped up indoors.

Despite the longer daylight hours in the evening, it seems like my days are shorter. There is so much to do and dinner has to be easy and plentiful. My crew has been working up quite an appetite lately.

A few months ago I tried my hand at chile renos and it was amazing! Fresh is always better, isn't it? Unfortunately, roasting, filling and frying takes a fair bit of time and effort in the kitchen. It was a successful recipe that I filed under "special occasions" because it was more than I can pull off for a typical evening meal. It also created quite a whirlwind of mess in my kitchen!

Chile Renos are my number one thing to order when we go out. I love them! You can ask my husband, I measure a Mexican Restaurant by how good their chile renos are. I prefer them to be fresh, homemade and cheesy.

So the solution was simple... just like the Eggs Benedict Casserole that was perfect for serving up to a hungry crew, Chile Renos could be made into one big casserole. Brilliant, right?  Oh, and this recipe gets bonus points for not needing any frying. I promise you won't miss that part.

It contains all the same great flavors... and cheese... but, with far less fuss. It also means my husband can grab as large of a piece as his heart desires.

Grab a few simple ingredients, along with a whole bunch of beautiful poblano peppers, and let's get started!

This recipe is great for breaking up into separate steps. I roasted all the poblano peppers early in the morning. I rubbed them with a little olive oil and kosher salt and popped it under the broiler till they were all charred.

Then I put them in a big bowl and covered it with kitchen wrap. The steam from the hot peppers helps to loosen the outer skin on the peppers. Once cooled, it is pretty easy to remove with just a paper towel and my hands. Then I sent the sliced and seeded peppers aside till I was ready to assemble the casserole.

Making the sauce is so simple! The tomatoes, garlic, milk and chicken stock all go into a saucepan to simmer through. Then the mixture gets poured into the bottom of a large casserole dish.

Then let the layering begin!

I cut my poblano peppers in half and put a good layer on the bottom to cover the tomato sauce.

Then add a layer of cheese and the remaining peppers on top of that.

Then pour the egg mixture over the whole thing and top with more cheese. I used Monterey Jack and Cotija Cheese in the middle of my casserole and mixed the Monterey Jack with a little sharp cheddar on the top.

This baked for about 45 minutes or until the eggs were done and set.


Chile Reno Casserole

You Will Need:

  • 8 - 10 Poblano Peppers
  • Olive oil, enough to rub peppers for roasted
  • a pinch or two of Kosher salt
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. chicken stock
  • 1 c. milk, divided
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh cracked black pepper
  • 3 c. shredded cheese (I used a combination of Monterey Jack, Sharp Cheddar and Cotija Cheese)
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. cumin
Rub poblano peppers with olive oil and sprinkle both sides with Kosher salt. Place under the broiler for 5 minutes. Keep a close eye on them as they will blister and char quickly. Turn and repeat on the other side. Place charred peppers in a large bowl and cover with kitchen wrap to let them steam. When cool enough to handle, rub off the outer layer with a paper towel, or peel with your hands. Slice in half to remove the seeds and stems. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with non-stick spray.

In a saucepan, combine the tomatoes, chicken stock, 1/2 cup of milk, garlic and salt and pepper. Bring up to a simmer and soften the tomatoes for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool slightly.

Pour the tomato mixture into the bottom of your dish. Top with half the roasted poblano peppers, then  1/3 of the cheese. Repeat the layers of peppers and cheese.

In a separate dish, whisk up the eggs, remaining 1/2 c. milk, flour, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour this mixture over the casserole and top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked through. Serve warm and enjoy! 

What do you serve on busy weeknights? Do you have a favorite casserole to make?
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