The casseroles of my youth invariably involved a cream of XX soup as its base. Cream of Chicken, Cream of Celery and, of course, the grandaddy of them all, Cream of Mushroom.
The dishes that I make today that you might consider a casserole, are surprisingly missing those creamy soup bases. In fact, the one below uses cheese and eggs to bind everything together.
Cheesy Chile Strata
This is a great dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Look at those beautiful peppers.
Making the tortilla chips.
Chips are ready.
Starting to layer.
Cheese. Then pour the egg mixture on top.
Out of the oven….
and into my mouth!
Cheesy Chile Strata
Prep Time: 50 M | Cook Time: 1 H 40 M | Servings: 6 to 8 servings | Difficulty: Intermediate
4 poblano chile peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 bunch medium spring onions, stems cut into 2-inch pieces, bulbs quartered
1/4 cup masa harina (instant corn flour) or all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil, for frying (3 to 4 cups)
10 corn tortillas, cut into 2-inch pieces
8 ounces Oaxaca or muenster cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
8 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
8 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Sour cream, chopped jalapenos and/or chopped cilantro, for topping (optional)
Preheat the broiler. Arrange the poblanos skin-side up on a baking sheet. Add the spring onions and broil until the poblano skins are charred and the onions are blackened around the edges, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the poblanos to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a plate and let cool 10 minutes. Rub off the skins with your fingers, then pat dry. Roughly chop the poblanos and onion bulbs, then toss with the masa harina in a medium bowl; set aside while you fry the tortillas.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 350 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the tortillas, stirring, until stiff but not browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper towels to drain.
Spread half of the fried tortillas in a 3-quart baking dish. Top with half of the poblano-onion mixture and half of each cheese. Layer the remaining tortillas, poblano-onion mixture and cheeses on top.
Whisk the eggs and milk in a large bowl; whisk in 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper to taste and the chili powder. Pour the egg mixture into the baking dish. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking and uncover. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until the strata is lightly puffed and golden on top and just set in the center, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Top with sour cream, jalapenos and/or cilantro.