Mexican Layered Leftovers

One of my favorite shows on the Food Network is Chopped where chefs are presented with a basket of four disparate ingredients and challenged to prepare a dish from them. The rule is that they must use each of the ingredients in the basket supplemented by whatever is in an ample pantry. Well, I do not have anyone to prepare such a basket for me but I do have a refrigerator within which lurk various leftovers. My version of Chopped is to line those up on my counter and then figure out how to use as much of them as possible starting with the ones least like to survive much longer. So, tonight’s ingredients were: two containers of leftover rice, the remains of a pot of pinto beans, a red onion, and an indeterminate mild green chili. This is what I came up with.


2 cups cooked pinto beans

3 cups cooked rice

1 slice thick-cut bacon, chopped

½ red onion, chopped

1 small mild green chili, chopped

1½ cups chicken stock, preferable home-made and unsalted

12 corn tortillas

2 cups tomatillo sauce, preferably home-made

1 cup, 6 ounces, grated Jack or cheddar cheese (I used extra sharp Vermont cheddar)

Sliced pickled jalapeños, optional


Warm the bean and mash them into a paste with a potato masher. Set aside.

Render the bacon in a skillet then sauté the onion and chili until soft. Add the rice and 1 cup chicken stock. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 325° (300° for convection).

Cut 6 of the tortillas in half. Lightly oil an 8-inch by 10-inch baking dish. Put two of the tortilla halve on each side with the cut side out then layer two uncut tortillas down the middle to form an entire layer of tortillas. Spread the beans over the tortillas. Lay down another layer of tortillas and spread with the rice. Pour on the remaining half cup of chicken stock. Add the last layer of tortillas, cover with the tomatillo sauce and the cheese. Garnish with the pickled jalapeño. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the filling is warmed through and the cheese is golden brown.


4 responses to “Mexican Layered Leftovers

  1. Jacquelyn October 21, 2010 at 14:27

    I do this, too! We try really hard not to waste food, so many meals are just my creations made on a whim. This sounds like a pretty great last-minute recipe. Thanks for sharing!

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