Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Tamale Corn, Pinto, and Black Bean Casserole

Although I'm slightly prejudiced against the word "casserole," which for me conjures up visions of jello molds, tuna, Stove-top stuffing and cream-of-mushroom soup, I've decided to include the word in the title of this post, because I know of no better way to describe a whole mess of ingredients thrown together and baked in the oven.

Last night I was craving something meatless, involving black beans and Mexican flavors, but I didn't want something typical, like burritos or enchiladas. Searching through a few food websites, this recipe in particular, which I have adapted from Cooking Light, intrigued me. I played with the ingredients a bit and changed its original lackluster title, but I was pleased with how this turned out. Extremely pleased-- I'd give this five stars, and I'll definitely make it again. It has layers of complexity to it-- the salty-sweet-spicy cornmeal topping, baked to a golden-brown hue, and the bubbling, rich tomato-bean chili beneath. I enjoyed it with a Yuengling beer while watching the DVD of Sideways.

We have guests staying with us right now, so I made a lot, but our friends were out at the theme parks until late last night, so I was expecting the 13x9" casserole to remain untouched. I was pleased when I opened the refrigerator this morning to find it almost entirely gone.

Don't be deterred by the ingredient list-- this is not difficult or time-consuming to prepare.

Tamale Corn & Black Bean Casserole
1 cup chopped onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1 cup cream-style corn, divided
1/2 cup canned green chiles, drained & divided
1/2 cup salsa
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (unless you don't like it hot)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 can black beans, drained
1 can pinto beans, drained
1 can stewed tomatoes, Mexican flavors, undrained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 egg whites, lightly beaten

Heat oven to 375 degrees F and spray a 13x9" pan with cooking spray. Saute onion & garlic for 3 minutes with a dash of cooking oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 1/2 cup of the corn, 1/4 cup chiles, salsa, spices, beans, and tomatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 15 minutes. Pour into 13x9" pan, sprinkle with half the cheddar cheese, set aside.

Mix together cornmeal, flour, sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a medium bowl. In another smal bowl, combine remaining 1/2 cup corn, 1/4 cup chiles, 1/2 cup cheese, buttermilk, 1/4 cup oil, and egg whites, then add to cornmeal mix, stirring just enough to mix together. Spread batter evenly over bean & corn mix. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes or until corn bread is lightly browned on top.

If you use reduced-fat cheese, this supposedly has 376 calories per serving, with a serving size equal to one cup.

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