Friday, May 5, 2017

Tortilla Pie

Veggies, beans, ground chicken and whole grain tortillas stack up for a "burrito-cake" kids and adults love! 

Tortilla Pie

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

I realize it's late in the day to be sharing a recipe for the holiday, but in my books there is never a bad time for Mexican (or in this case, Tex-Mex) food. With few exceptions, this cuisine seems to be passable, if not delicious, warm or cold - I can fondly remember piling cold fajita-marinated tofu and veggies into a pita one night for dinner in university, and more than once eating chicken mole and cold rice out of the fridge during a late night study session. Most of these meals, being sauce based, also take kindly to reheating, which make them OAMC cooks' dreams!

One of the easiest to make and (generally) all-pleasing Tex-Mex meals I've made in a long time is this Tortilla Pie. Essentially all the fixings of a burrito (except rice, which IMHO doesn't belong there anyway) are layered into a springform pan, topped with cheese and baked into a cohesive, "tortillasagna". Served hot or room temperature, wedges are packed with the rich flavours of meat, beans and spices, the sharpness of the cheese and the toasty, wheaty tortillas. My grade 7's and 8's were able to prepare this almost 100% on their own (I did about half the skillet work while they were chopping) and demolished the pans within 30 minutes of coming out of the oven. Not bad for a meal filled with veggies, lean meat, and beans! The old Cheddar really makes the dish sing, since it brightens up the heaviness of the meat and bean mixture, but if you truly hate aged cheese, a pepper-Jack would be good, or something like Oaxaca.


Tortilla Pie
Serves 8
6 (10”) whole-grain flour tortillas
1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium red pepper, chopped
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp ground cumin
¼ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp oregano
Pinch cinnamon
pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 lb lean ground beef
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 cup plain tomato sauce
1 540-ml can no-salt-added black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn kernels
1 (10 oz) package frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
Sour cream, to serve
  1. Heat oven to 400F and grease a 10” spring-form pan.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large frying pan.
  3. Add onion, red pepper, salt, cumin, paprika, oregano, cinnamon and red-pepper flakes.
  4. Cook until onion and pepper have softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Raise heat to medium-high and add the beef and garlic.
  6. Cook, breaking up meat with a spoon until no longer pink.
  7. Stir in the tomato paste, tomato sauce, beans, corn and spinach.
  8. Cook until the mixture is thick and hot, mashing the beans slightly to thicken the mixture.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 ½ cups of the cheese.
  10. Place one tortilla in the prepared pan.
  11. Top with about 1 ⅔ packed cups of the filling, spreading it evenly.
  12. Top with another tortilla, then continue layering filling and tortillas, finishing with a tortilla.
  13. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese.
  14. Bake until top is lightly browned and the pie is heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  15. Run knife around edge of pan and remove the sides.
  16. Cut into wedges and serve. 
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 470.5
Total Fat: 26.5 g
Cholesterol: 72.4 mg
Sodium: 894.6 mg
Total Carbs: 36.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 8.4 g
Protein: 25.9 g