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For the sauce:
- 2 ½ cups vegetable or beef broth
- 2 6 ounce cans tomato paste 12 ounces total
- 2-3 Tablespoons chili powder depending how spicy you want it
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon flour
For the assembly:
- 1 15 ounce can refried beans
- 8-12 ounces cheddar jack or colby jack cheese shredded
- 8-10 soft taco sized flour tortillas
- 1 pound cooked ground beef optional – if using, season with additional salt and garlic powder
For the sauce:
- Heat the oil in a 2 quart pot over medium heat.
- Add in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Slowly pour in the broth, whisking to combine.
- Add in chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and salt and whisk to combine.
- Continue to cook over medium heat until it begins to thicken, then whisk in tomato paste and remove from heat.
- Cut a few tortillas in quarters.
- Put a couple of tablespoons of sauce into the bottom of an 8×8 inch pan, and place a layer of tortillas down with the cut edges towards the sides to cover the whole bottom, using additional tortilla pieces to fill in gaps (see picture below, I’m having a hard time describing it in words).
- Spread a layer of refried beans, sprinkle a layer of cheese (and meat if using) and cover with sauce.
- Repeat until the pan is full, ending with a layer of tortillas covered with sauce and cheese.
- Cover tightly with foil and bake at 375 °F for 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly and the cheese is melted.
- Serve with sliced green onions, diced tomatoes and sour cream.
Hungry for more spice? Try the amazing Taco Pie!
Obligatory Fictional Backstory
The year was 1993, and fusion food was the biggest trend to hit the restaurant industry since putting a piece of parsley on a plate and calling it a garnish. I was working as head chef at Valhalla’s Wok Bayou, a Scandinavian-Asian-Creole fusion restaurant in a trendy up-and-coming area. Business was great until Frau Sombrero’s Cucina opened, a German-Mexican-Italian restaurant not six blocks away.
My boss, the owner of Valhalla’s Wok Bayou, tasked me with coming up with a rival dish. “It doesn’t have to match our name,” he said, “but I want to have something that will give people a reason to come here instead of going there.”
I brainstormed. I created. I tried seafood stuffed bratwurst covered in mole sauce and served over pasta (bad combination). I tried schnitzel on a tostada with sauerkraut and covered in alfredo (also a bad combination). Then, I had a revelation: we didn’t have to imitate ALL of the foods our rival fused! It would be much easier to come up with something combining only two cultures.
And so, I created the Amazing Enchilada Lasagna. A casserole filled with the flavors of Mexico but served in the style of an Italian lasagna. It was brilliant. Our customers thought so too, and soon everyone in the area was flocking back.
Sadly, Valhalla’s Wok Bayou closed a couple of years later due to the trends changing to gourmet street food. So now, I can share my Amazing Enchilada Lasagna recipe with all of you. Enjoy!
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. I think laziness is. I didn’t want to go to the effort of rolling enchiladas so I decided to layer them into an amazing enchilada lasagna style casserole instead, and the result was delicious! Honestly I’m not sure how much time it saved, but it felt like less work and that’s the important part. You can use canned enchilada sauce to save more time if you want but I think homemade tastes better.
I was also able to get my husband to unknowingly eat beans – he swore I was lying when I said there were beans in the casserole (mua ha ha). The kids wouldn’t eat it because it was “too spicy” (even though my middle will eat straight jalapenos from the jar) so I made them quesadillas instead.
Is Amazing Enchilada Lasagna healthy? No, not really. Is it delicious? Oh yes, definitely. Serve it with a salad. In everything, balance.