Monday, September 8, 2014

Turkey and Corn Tortilla Casserole with Lime-Scented Sour Cream

Betty Rosbottom recently released the fourth in her Sunday series of cookbooks, entitled Sunday Casseroles (published by Chronicle Books). A couple years ago, I reviewed the second in the series, Sunday Roasts, and was very impressed by the variety of recipes, the gorgeous photographs, and the wonderful breakdown of roast recipes for all occasions. I'm happy to report, that her most recent cookbook fits the same mold that I previously enjoyed.

There is a great variety of casserole recipes ranging from Chicken and Turkey Favorites, All Manner of Meats, Seafood Specials, Market Vegetables, Casseroles Under Cover (topped casseroles), Casseroles with Pasta, and finally Breakfast Casseroles.

The Casserole Directory in the back of the book divides the recipes into convenient sections such as Perfect for a Crowd, Easy on the Pocket, Casseroles that Freeze Well, and more. It's so easy to narrow down what to make with these awesome guidelines.

Each recipe specifies prep time, start-to-finish time, whether or not it can be made ahead, and even whether or not it freezes well. Many recipes also include market notes and cooking tips. The book includes beautiful photos that in some cases span two pages. Although the double-page photos are mouthwatering, I actually wish some of them were limited to one page, to then allow for an extra picture of a different dish.

I'm a big fan of comfort foods, and casseroles in particular, so I know this book will be very useful in my kitchen, especially as the weather starts to turn cooler. Some recipes that jump out to me in particular include Leila's Venetian Chicken with Porcini Mushrooms and Fontina, Turkey and Corn Tortilla Casserole with Lime-Scented Sour Cream, Provencal Daube de Boeuf with Olives, Tomatoes, and Orange, Aunt Janie's Lemon-Parsley Oysters with Cracker Topping, "Fish and Chips" Casserole, Only Vegetables Moussaka, Chicken Pot Pies with Fall Vegetables and Golden Cheddar Crusts, Wild Mushroom Lasagna, Crab-Stuffed Pasta Shells with Orange-Scented Tomato Sauce, and Mushroom Popover Casserole... just to name a few.

Considering the book is called Sunday Casseroles, it seems only fitting to test out one of the recipes on the first football Sunday of the season! Watching football and eating yummy food is my favorite way to spend a Sunday, and considering the comfort factor of casseroles, any one of them would be perfect this fall when tucked away watching your favorite team hit the turf.

The Turkey and Corn Tortilla Casserole with Lime-Scented Sour Cream seems like a fancy way of saying "Mexican Lasagna," but alas, the entire dish is perfect for Tex-Mex themed comfort regardless of what you call it.

The turkey filling reminds me of taco meat, but with more veggies, and the corn tortillas soften and practically dissolve into the casserole, remind me a bit of the soaked, softened corn tortillas of enchiladas. And of course there is all that gooey cheese. Can't go wrong there. The cheese and sour cream mixture layered within is less creamy than it begins, creating a texture that almost reminds me of ricotta.

Casseroles are crowd-pleasing favorites, and often encompass an entire meal in one (protein, veggies, starch). Although the season for cookouts isn't completely over, I know that when the cooler fall climate hits, I will be referencing Sunday Casseroles more and more often, with many creative variations to take me from Sunday all through the week.

Turkey and Corn Tortilla Casserole with Lime-Scented Sour Cream
Serves 6
(Adapted from Sunday Casseroles)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups/250 g chopped onion
1 cup/130 g chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 lb/910 g ground turkey, preferably half dark (thigh meat) and half white (breast meat)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon chipotle chile powder (I omitted this because I didn't have any)
1 (15-oz/430 g) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup/240 ml reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 (4 1/2 oz/130 g) can green chiles, drained
2 cups/480 ml sour cream
2 cups/240 g grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons/15 g chopped fresh cilantro
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
8 (6-inch/15 cm) corn tortillas, cut into quarters

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Oil a 9-by-13-inch or another shallow 3-qt baking dish.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy frying pan set over medium heat. When hot, add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring, for 4 to 5 minutes to soften the vegetables. Add the ground turkey, chili powder, cumin, oregano, 2 teaspoons salt, and the chipotle chile powder. Cook, stirring often to break up any lumps, until the turkey has cooked through, about 6 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and green chiles and cook, stirring, until all liquids have evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and season with more salt if needed.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, 1 cup/120 g of the Monterey Jack, the cilantro, and lime zest.

Spread one-third of the turkey mixture in the baking dish. Arrange half of the tortilla quarters over the mixture, and then spread one-third of the sour cream mixture over the tortillas. Repeat to make another layer. Layer the remaining turkey mixture on top, cover with the remaining sour cream mixture, and sprinkle with the remaining Monterey Jack. (The casserole can be prepared up to this point 2 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking).

Bake, uncovered, until the casserole is hot and the cheese has melted, 25 to 30 minutes. Broil for a few extra minutes, if desired, to brown the cheese. Serve immediately.

*Disclaimer* I received no compensation to write this review other than a free copy of the book. My opinions are always my own.


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