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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

MEXICAN TORTILLA BAKE




This heavenly tortilla bake is a tasty twist on a traditional lasagna. It has all the flavours of Mexican baked enchiladas but without the hassle. This dinner can then be assembled in under 20 minutes and just popped into the oven to work its magic.

This may sound outlandish but trust me, this recipe is incredibly easy. Full of succulent roasted chicken, sweet red capsicum, black beans, layered with tortillas with my homemade epic enchilada sauce, all held together by gooey melted cheese. For ease, I simply grab a roasted chicken from the supermarket.


For variety, you could fry up and add some mince or sauté some button mushrooms and eggplant for a delicious vegetarian option. For anyone who likes it spicy, simply substitute the Gaucho seasoning with my Creole.The secret sauce in this recipe is in my homemade epic enchilada sauce.


Did you know? Combining different flavours from around the world is not new to us chefs. Fusion cuisine could be defined as food that mixes components of various culinary traditions from other nations, regions, or civilisations to create new and wonderful dishes. Haters of fusion cuisine, or so called ‘traditionalists’, however, have never approved of the latest ideas of combining foods. Instead, they cleverly coined it ‘con fusion cuisine’ though in my opinion this only comes about when a chef scatters different components haphazardly together like confetti, which leads to disorientation and conflict on the plate. On the contrary, a seamless and flavourful dish is the end result when a chef has a full grasp of the types of cuisine he or she is trying to fuse... as is usually the case with any successful innovation, change, or progress.


Chef Dylan tip: Refrain from reheating any leftovers in the microwave, as this will make it soggy but you can make it just as good as the first time by just reheating them in the oven at 180°C for 5-10 mins.


Mooloolabah Sunshine Coast 2014

"What restaurant should we eat at tonight?” asks my wife, as we sit in the jacuzzi of our hotel room, high up, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I take a sip of Champagne, savouring the rich brioche flavour. “Well, I’ve heard excellent things about Spice Bar. It’s a cool fusion restaurant and it's just a few hundred metres from our hotel” I reply. “Is that the Asian fusion place?” “Yeah, and you can get a sort of set meal degustation-style too” I say. “I'll give them a call to see if I can make a reservation then.” “Sounds perfect” she agrees.


As the sun slowly sets, we amble along the esplanade. Meanwhile, hundreds of rainbow lorikeets are wildly screeching overhead in the tall pine trees. It’s a Tuesday night and the place is bustling, with many a sunburnt tourist siting alfresco at the numerous fast food-style restaurants designed to lure them in. The dog walkers are out in force, being pulled along by their hounds who only stop to frantically sniff new scents. Continuing on the ocean side, I overhear a group of energetic middle-aged power walkers in tight shorts and sports bras gossip as they pass by.


We arrive at the restaurant and head up a narrow staircase to the second floor, and I notice straight away the chefs busily dancing between each other along a long, slender open kitchen. The dining area is three-quarters full; “That’s a great sign for a Tuesday night” I think to myself, as a small, mousy looking girl with dark hair and an arm full of sailor tattoos heads over and asks, “Reservation sir?”. “Yes, Gittoes. Two for 6.30 please”. “One moment” she says while turning to head over to a pew with a laptop computer. We are seemingly approved, and she waves us over and guides us to our dark chestnut-coloured table, and I pull out one of the mahogany chairs with bright red cushions for my wife, who smiles as she sits and remarks “Thanks. Comfy,”. “You guys are having the set menu, so I’ll just let you know the first course is a carpaccio of ‘Cape Grim’ eye fillet beef with pickled radish, toasted sesame seeds, drizzled with a light Asian-style dressing” says our waitress as she pours us a glass of water each. I’ll be back to take your drinks order in a moment” and leaves.


I smile and say “We are in luck! Our table is right in front of the kitchen.” My love playfully rolls her eyes “Ha-ha, Chef life. Knew that’d make you happy!”


PREP TIME: 15mins

COOKING TIME: 45 mins

SERVINGS: 4-6


INGREDIENTS


Epic Enchilada sauce

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/4 cup plain flour

  • 700 g passata

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock

  • 2 tbs GAUCHO or CREOLE

METHOD

  1. Heat stock in microwave or stove until boiling.

  2. Heat oil for 30 seconds in a separate saucepan over medium heat.

  3. Add flour and whisk until well combined, about 1 minute.

  4. Add passata, GAUCHO and hot stock, then whisk to combine and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low.

  5. Simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbs olive oil

  • 1 brown onion, chopped

  • 1 red capsicum, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tbs GAUCHO

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 cup frozen corn

  • 3/4 cooked chicken, roughly shredded

  • 1 ltr enchilada sauce

  • 18 flour tortillas

  • 4 cups mixed cheese (or pizza cheese)

GARNISH

  • Sour cream

  • Coriander, freshly chopped

  • Ripe avocado, diced

  • 1/2 small red onion, diced

METHOD

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180° C.

  2. In a large frypan over medium heat, add oil then add onion and capsicum and cook until soft, 5 minutes.

  3. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, add beans, corn, chicken, and gently mix and warm through ~5 minutes. Keep ½ cup enchilada sauce aside then pour remaining sauce into skillet, stirring to gently combine.

  4. Spread reserved ½ cup enchilada sauce into a large baking dish then layer 6 small tortillas in pan, overlapping so they overlap a bit and cover the entire dish. Scoop 1/3 of mixture over tortillas spread evenly and top with about 1/3 of pizza cheese.

  5. Top that with another layer of tortillas and then repeat to make 2 more layers, finishing with cheese.

  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and cheese is golden and melted.

TO SERVE


Garnish with red onion, avocado, sour cream and coriander.



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