Mighty Tasty Mexican Tamale Lasagna

By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional

lasagna

We all have those favorite flavor combinations that makes us crave them at all hours of the day and night.  I know, I have driven hours just to eat at a certain restaurant.  Others, plan their vacation destinations around certain foods.

We do these things for satisfaction and just pure pleasure.  Our favorite foods make us close our eyes and sigh with contentment.  They make us want to take a nap afterwards, with a smile that creeps across our face as we sleep.

Ingredients

  • 1 Bag Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Large Package of Small Corn Tortillas
  • 1 1/2 Lbs. Chicken Cutlets
  • 1/2 Lb. Thick Cut Bacon, Cut Into 1″ Pieces
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Finely Chopped
  • 1 21oz Can Refried Beans or 2 Cups Homemade Refried Beans
  • 1 Large Can Tamale Sauce
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Can Seasoned Black Beans
  • 1 Can Baby Corn
  • 1 Cup Cheddar Cheese, Shredded
  • 2 Cups Taco Cheese Blend, Shredded
  • 4 Tbs. Butter, Salted
  • 5 Dashes Worcester Sauce
  • 2 Dashes Liquid Smoke
  • 3 Tbs. Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • 2 Tbs. Cracked Assorted Peppercorns
  • 3 Tbs. Italian Seasoning
  • 2+ Tbs. Olive Oil

Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. In a large stock pot, add 2 tbs. butter and 1 tbs. olive oil.  Cook over medium-high heat until your butter is melted.  Add 2 tbs. of chopped garlic,  and cook until garlic is lightly browned, about 1 minute.  Start adding your spinach, one handful at a time.  Cooking Tip:  Spinach wilts quite quickly.  You want to stir with a wooden spoon continuously until wilted down.  As soon as all of your spinach is wilted, immediately remove from heat and place into a medium serving bowl to stop the cooking process.
  3. Once your spinach is all wilted down, remove from the heat to a medium bowl and set to the side until you are ready to layer your.
  4. In a large skillet, add a dash of olive oil, 1 tbs. of chopped garlic and your can of refried beans.  Cook over meadow heat, stirring regularly until warm.  Add your cup of cheddar cheese and continue cooking and stirring until your cheese is melted.  Move off the heat and keep to the side until ready to layer.
  5. In a medium frying pan or skillet, add a splash of olive oil and your pieces of bacon.  Fry over medium-high heat, stirring regularly, until cooked to medium well.  (Should be on the chewy side and lightly browned.) Remove your bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and place on a small plate lined with a double layer of paper towels (to absorb the excess grease.)  Set the skillet aside and do not drain the bacon grease.  Cooking Tip:  When cooking bacon or ground sausage, leave the grease in the pan and let cool to room temperature.  Once your grease has cooled down, pour into a small bowl or my preference, a ramekin and place in the refrigerator for later use.  It is great for use in green beans, greens or any other recipe that calls for oil for which you would like to add pork flavor.  It will last about a week to 10 days uncovered in the refrigerator.  Any longer and it will go rancid, so be careful.
  6. In a large mixing bowl.  Add your can of baby corn, 1 can of diced tomatoes (that have been drained of liquid), your can of seasoned black beans (that have also been drained into a colindar and rinsed with warm water), your bacon pieces and 3 dashes of Worcester sauce.
  7. In the same skillet you fried your bacon, return to the stove and set the heat to medium-high.  Once the grease has heated up (be careful to not wait to long so that the bacon grease doesn’t burn.  You can tell if it’s at the burning stage because your skillet will start to smoke.) add your chicken cutlets, Montreal chicken seasoning and cracked assorted peppercorns.
  8. Cook your chicken cutlets until they are just cooked.  Be sure to turn them quite often.  Once they are a light brown color and cooked through in the center, immediately remove from the skillet and place in a medium size mixing bowl.
  9. While your chicken is still hot, take two forks and gently shred the chicken into nice size ribbons.
  10. Now it is time to layer your Mexican, Tamale Lasagna.  Take out the largest casserole dish or lasagna pan that you have.  Pout your remaining can of tomatoes, with juice, into the bottom of the pan.  Gently shake the dish until the bottom is evenly covered with the tomatoes.
  11. Start adding your corn tortillas.  You want to slightly overlap each tortilla so that you get complete coverage.  It will take about 9 or so tortillas.  Take 1-2 more tortillas and tear into ribbons to fill in the spaces that aren’t covered.  It should look like a single rectangular sheet.
  12. Now pour about 1/3 or your tamale sauce over your tortilla layer and spread out with a spatula.  Now add your refried beans and spread out with your spatula.
  13. Next add your spinach and spread it out on top of your bean layer.
  14. Now let’s add another layer of corn tortilla.  Again, be sure to completely cover the first layer. Add another 1/3 of your tamale sauce and spread out with your spatula.
  15. Now lets add the corn, bacon and black beans and spread out into a thin layer.  Once that is done, add your chicken and spread out as evenly as you can.
  16. Finally, let’s add a final layer of corn tortilla, top it with the remaining tamale sauce.  Then sprinkle your 2 cups of taco cheese blend over the top in an even layer.
  17. Cover your lasagna with foil and bake on the center rack of your oven for about 25 minutes.  Until the edges start to bubble and the cheese is melted and browning on top.
  18. Serve this amazing lasagna with white rice and your favorite salad.
  19. Enjoy the taste of Mexico in this updated Italian/American style.
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