Saturday, September 12, 2015

Mexican Baked Egg Casserole

Last Year's Post:  Pesto for the Freezer
Two Years Ago:   Smoked Turkey, Kale and Blue Cheese Sandwiches

When I first saw this recipe from a restaurant in Mexico City I fell in love with the little individual casserole dishes they used and spent a fair amount of time looking for "individual casserole dishes with handles" online until I realized they were actually French onion soup bowls, easily found at my local Bed, Bath and Beyond.  You may choose to make a large family casserole instead but I'm obsessed with anything individual or miniaturized so I just had to have them.

Anyway, this casserole is equally perfect for a weekday dinner or a lazy weekend brunch with layers of beans, ham or turkey, eggs, salsa and cheese all baked until the cheese is nice and gooey.  The original recipe called for re-fried beans, thin slices of ham, eggs, red salsa, and cheese.  I made it lighter by using whole beans instead of re-fried and salsa verde instead of ranchero sauce (basically red salsa) but the specifics are up the you - any beans, ham or turkey, red salsa or green, and your favorite cheese.  You can cook your own beans and make your own salsa verde (my favorite recipe follows) or you can buy a can of beans and a jar of your favorite salsa, which is perfectly fine.

Assuming you have beans and salsa already prepared, this dish takes about 20-25 minutes to prepare so it's pretty easy even for a weeknight dinner.

 I sauteed the ham in a little butter to add color and flavor but that's optional.

Then you start layering: salsa verde, beans, ham, egg, more salsa, cheese.

Pop them in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese melts and you're done.  One tip -  slightly undercook your eggs (although making sure the whites are done) because they'll cook a little more in the oven.  If you don't like runny yolks that's fine, but they add a nice rich sauce as you eat.

I served the eggs with toast and strawberries for brunch, but if I served the eggs for dinner I would probably add either tortilla chips or warm tortillas alongside.

One last thought about the Salsa Verde - it's lighter and brighter than red salsas and totally delicious when the vegetables are grilled for a nice smoky touch.  And it's easy:  grill, puree, then simmer for a few minutes with some lime juice.  The salsa keeps well in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator for up to a week or for several months when frozen.  I always make this salsa and my favorite red salsa every fall and freeze plenty for the winter months.

print recipe
Mexican Baked Egg Casserole
Serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
4 eggs
Salt and pepper
Non-stick spray
1 tablespoon butter
1 ½ cups chopped turkey or ham
2 cups whole black or pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
2 cups red salsa or Salsa Verde (recipe follows for Salsa Verde)
2 cups (about 8 ounces) shredded cheese such as Oaxaca, mozzarella or cheddar

Preheat oven to 375d.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, heat the olive oil.  Crack each egg into a small bowl one at a time and slide into the skillet (this prevents any shell bits from getting in the skillet).  Alternately, use a small individual egg pan to cook each egg.  Cook until the eggs are just shy of the way you like them since they’ll cook a little more in the oven, but make sure the whites are fully cooked.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium non-stick skillet and sauté the turkey or ham pieces for a few minutes until lightly browned.  Set aside. Warm the beans and salsa separately in the microwave. 

To assemble, spray a casserole dish (or individual ramekins or soup bowls) with non-stick spray.  Add a thin layer of salsa, then the beans and ham or turkey.  Place the eggs on top, then cover with a generous layer of salsa and add the shredded cheese over all.

Place in the oven until the cheese has completely melted, 8-10 minutes, then turn to broil for 30-60 seconds to lightly brown the cheese if desired.  Serve immediately.

Salsa Verde
Makes about 4 cups

6 unpeeled garlic cloves
11 fresh tomatillos, husked, rinsed
1 large onion, quartered through root end
3-4 jalapeno chiles
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sugar
Coarse kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

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