Chile Cheese Egg Casserole

Chili Cheese Egg2My friend Brady, made us a wonderful dinner last week.  It’s a recipe that has been passed down in our town circa 1974. Over the years it has been changed and adapted each time. This is his current version.

Here is his note – “I like to mix up my cheeses if I can.  Frequently I will use the Mexican 4-Cheese blend instead of plain Jack, or I may add Pepper Jack to spice things up.  I once used six different cheeses!  The main cheese should always be Sharp Cheddar, but have fun and play with the rest, as long as keep it at 32 oz. or so.”

Chili Cheese EggChile Cheese Egg Casserole

Serves 8

6 large eggs
12 oz can evaporated milk
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs flour
2 or 3 (4 oz) cans fire-roasted whole green chilies, drained
16 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated
16 oz Monterey jack cheese, grated
8 oz can tomato sauce

Preheat oven to 350˚.

Spray a 9” x 13” casserole dish or baking pan with nonstick spray, or lightly rub with oil. (A deep, round casserole pan can also be used – if you use a smaller size pan, the sides must then be higher.)

Carefully wipe chiles with a paper towel or cloth to remove as many seeds as possible, then completely cover bottom of casserole dish with chile segments.

Cover the chiles with all of the shredded/grated cheeses evenly.

In a mixing bowl, beat all of the eggs, until frothy.

Carefully add the baking powder and flour into your egg mixture while beating, making sure to avoid lumps.

Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture while continuing to beat.

Pour the egg/milk mixture over all of the cheese into the casserole dish.

Place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes – until the top is a golden brown and the edges are bubbly.

Remove from oven and slowly pour the tomato sauce over the top of the casserole, covering it completely to the sides.

Replace in the oven and continue to bake uncovered for an additional 10 minutes or so, until the edges are bubbly and the tomato sauce has cooked onto the top of casserole.

Remove from oven and allow to rest at least 5 minutes or so before serving.

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Puffy Chile Relleno Casserole

Christmas Catering….

My last catering gig before Christmas – making 4 main dishes to serve 8 people for a good friend.  Here is one of the recipes.

Puffy Chile Relleno Casserole

Serves 8

2-3 cans (7oz each) whole chiles
4 corn tortillas cut in wide strips
1 lb Jack cheese, shredded
1 Large tomato, sliced
8 Eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp paprika

Remove seeds from chiles, if desired, Lay chiles in the bottom of the well greased 9 inch square baking dish. Top with half the tortilla strips and half the cheese. Arrange tomato slices on top. Repeat layers, using up the remaining chiles, tortillas, and cheese.

Beat together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder; pour evenly over casserole. Sprinkle lightly with paprika, cover and chill if make ahead.

Bake uncovered in 350 degree oven for 40 minutes (allow one hour if cold) or until puffy and set in center. Let stand ten minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Hatch Green Chile Rice

Ahh, The Searing Aroma

We had a wonderful time this year picking up our Hatch chiles, because we included some friends that are equally obsessed with these New Mexican gems. One of my favorite “side effects” of excursion is that the seared chile aroma lingers in my car for about a week. They should sell one of those car freshener trees in Roasted Hatch Chile scent.

I am now a lot calmer knowing that I have 40 individual baggies of chiles in my freezer waiting for some culinary inspiration to hit me.

Hatch Green Chile Rice

Serves 6 to 8

2 cups sour cream
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp salt
1 cup Hatch green chiles, seeds and stem removed, chopped
2 cups water, salted
1 cup long grain white rice
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, cubed

Bring salted water to a boil in a medium-sized saucepan over high heat. Add rice, stir once, cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes without stirring. Mix the sour cream, cheese, chiles, garlic, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the cooked rice and mix together by turning. Place in a greased 2-quart casserole dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serve as a side dish.

Roasted Green Chile Salsa

roasted chilesThe Hatch Hook UP

Well tomorrow is that day that I pick up 72 pounds of Hatch green chilies at 10:30 am PST.  My freezer (in the garage) is empty, in chilly (get it?) anticipation!

I guess I will need to host some “hot luck” parties soon, though I need to discern from my posse of friends, who can handle the heat.  No one with an ulcer is allowed.  Maybe I should have a bowl of Zantac at the door.

I decided that the first thing I will make is salsa to suss out the chile itself and then launch into more adventurous recipes.

I will take pictures of the pick-up.  You are probably now realizing what a nut case I truly am.

Roasted Green Chile Salsa

Makes 2 cups

6 – 8 fresh Hatch green chiles, roasted, peeled, seeded, and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, blackened and roughly chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano, finely minced
1 heaping tsp fresh cilantro, chopped
½ tsp fresh marjoram, finely chopped
1 Tbs cider vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil

Thoroughly combine all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

Chili Verde

green chileThe Hatch Green Chile Debacle

As most of you already know, my brain temporarily left the building yesterday. I was watching an episode of Huell Howser a few nights ago doing a piece on Hatch New Mexican chiles. They are sold in the months of August and September. They roast them when you pick them up. Hundreds of people line up for fresh, roasted New Mexico green chiles every year. They pick up enough to last them a year (they freeze them). Anything regional, hard to get, with fanatics involved has my name written all over it. I must have some!

The green chiles come in 36 pound bags. It took me all morning to get through on the El-Rey Farms phone line. I was so startled when they actually answered, that I ordered 2 bags of medium heat green chiles. Yes, I know, that’s 72 pounds in total! 72 pounds of chiles + small, upper compartment freezer in garage = THEY WON’T FIT!

I have to pick them up exactly at 10:30 am on August 22 in La Puente with cash in hand.

I immediately called my good friend and fellow foodie, Chris to tell her about my lapse in sanity. She happens to love New Mexico, especially Hatch green chiles. She’s in for 10 pounds, so now I’m down to 62 pounds. I asked her about recipes and she said that one of the best is a recipe that was published in Esquire magazine in 2004 for Chile Verde. I have included this recipe today. I’ve been told that you can buy frozen Hatch green chiles at Whole Foods.

Chili Verde

Serves 4

3 Tbs olive oil
2 large yellow onions, peeled and chopped (about 2 cups)
5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 fresh jalapenos, stemmed and minced
1/2 cup diced celery
2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into half-inch cubes and blotted dry
2 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano*
2 1/2 cups good-quality chicken stock
4 canned tomatillos, pureed (about 1/4 cup)
1 small potato, peeled and grated (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp coarse or kosher salt
2 large canned roasted poblano chiles,* cut into half-inch strips (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup Hatch canned green chiles,* chopped
1 avocado, peeled and finely chopped
2 ripe plum tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

In a large stockpot over moderate heat, warm olive oil. Add onions, garlic, jalapenos, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until celery is softened, about 10 minutes. Add pork and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until pork loses its color, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add stock, tomatillos, potato, and salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cook, partially covered, for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add poblano and green chiles and cook, stirring frequently, until pork is tender, another 30 to 45 minutes. Ladle into warm serving bowls and top with avocado and tomato to taste.