Monday, November 8, 2010

Back in the Kitchen, Pt. 2

More Pieter Bruegel for you. "The Fall of Icarus" immortalized by W.H. Auden in "Musee des Beaux Arts" (in case an oil painting needed to be any more immortal). I only include it because it is probably my favorite of Bruegel's paintings. I love the skewed perspective which warps the landscape, and the distinctly un-Flemish mountains shining in the distance. It's an exercise in artifice which is grounded by the ploughman stolidly ignoring the mythological boy disappearing into the sea.
Onward to food. Beans and rice with cheese and tortillas are comfort food for me (I am told by other friends that this is not a universal condition, but for me it works), this casserole is a particularly brainless way to cook them. Especially when one is so tired that she can't remember that she needs sour cream before she puts the casserole in the oven.

I am in fact presenting the version of Bean and Rice Casserole that I made tonight. This is not it's cheapest incarnation, but for tonight it was very nice. The quantity made will make four or five meals for me, especially if I round things out with salad or fruit. If you feed other people it won't go as far, but you'll have more fun.

Bean and Rice Casserole


1 15.5 oz can of S&W Santa Fe Recipe Beans
3/4 cup water or chicken broth
3 boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped up into bite size chunks (mine came straight out of my freezer -- frozen chicken thighs are very useful things to have on hand, and you can use them in the recipe still frozen but it does add about half an hour to the cooking time).
1 large tomato, or a double handful of grape tomatoes, chopped up
eight or so corn tortillas chopped up
A bunch of cheese, (a generous half cup or more, grated or chopped) your choice on what kind (I used cheddar and pepper jack this time)
1/2 cup brown rice


Preheat oven to 350.

In a heavy 2.5 qt casserole dish with a lid (I use a souffle dish, actually) combine almost everything. Reserve a third or so of the cheese. Use the water or chicken stock to rinse the last bit of sauce out of the bean can. Stir everything together.

Bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes. Uncover and top with the remaining cheese, and bake uncovered for another fifteen minutes or until the cheese is appealingly toasty, and the rice and chicken are cooked. Allow to stand for at least five minutes, definitely until it is no longer boiling.

Serve with sour cream, salsa, or whatever else you would ordinarily stick in a burrito. It keeps well too.

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