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Author Notes: I grew up in Southern California, surrounded by amazing Mexican food. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, it's one of the few things I really miss. Luckily, there are a few top notch specialty shops near me and dried chillies are becoming more plentiful.
This recipe will adapt to any season, can be made gluten free or vegan with a few easy swaps, and is easy enough for a week night meal. —fatgirleating
Serves 6 generously
Roja Sauce (you'll never buy canned again)
- 6 Dried Mexican chillies, I like a combination of Ancho chillies and Guajillo chillies for a warm and slightly smokey sauce
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 teaspoon dried Epazote or Mexican Oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Break the stems off your chillies and shake the seeds out. Soak in the boiling water for about 30 minutes, or however long it takes to make the filling.
- Drain and puree the chillies with about 1 cup of water. The puree should be the consistency of tomato sauce. Add the dried herb, and season to taste.
Filling and assembly
- 4 - 6 cups Chopped fresh veggies. Try corn, zucchini, summer squash and red bell pepper in the Summer. Or sweet potato, winter squash, turnip and carrots in Winter. Half an onion is nice.
- 1 serrano or jalapeño, finly minced. Leave the seeds in if you like spicy foods.
- 1 pasilla, finely chopped
- 1 can black beans, well drained and rinsed
- 6-8 tortillas, any kind though I like the half flour half corn. Use gluten free tortillas for a gluten free meal.
- 1.5 cups shredded Mexican cheese. If you want a vegan dish, omit the cheese and sprinkle with a little nutritional yeast.
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon Epazote or Mexican Oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Veggies should be roughly the same size as the beans to allow all the flavors and textures to easily combine.
- Cook all the veggies in a lightly oild skillet with the serrano and the pasilla until mostly done. They will cook a little more in the oven, and mushy veggies are not as delicious.
- Add the beans, all the herbs and spices. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- If you haven't already blended your sauce, do so now. Put about 1/3 cup in the bottom of an 8x8 or 8x10 casserole dish to coat. Layer 2 or 3 tortillas on the bottom, just to cover the pan.
- Layer half the veggies, then about one third of the cheese and sauce. Add a second layer of tortillas, then veggies, cheese and sauce. Finish with tortillas, all the remaining sauce and cheese.
- Bake at 350, uncovered, about 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and brown.
- Eat, and make yummy noises. You can, if desired, top with a little sour cream or avocado but I like it as is.