Sunday, August 6, 2017

Mexican Picadillo Lasagna

     A Tasty Mexican Style Tortilla and Picadillo Lasagna!
     Italian Lasagna is popular north of the border entrée.  A classic Meat Lasagna is made with layers of sheet pasta, Sugo di Carne, Italian Three Cheese Mix and Salsa di Pomodoro.  After baking in the oven, the aroma of an Italian Meat Lasagna is nearly irresistible.  An Italian Lasagna is very heavy on the tummy, which also provides great comfort.
     The goal of making a Mexican style Lasagna should be the same as for Italian Lasagna.  The finished Mexican Lasagna should be aromatic and very filling, so it provides a high level of comfort.  This can be accomplished with ordinary Mexican cuisine ingredients.  For a standard Mexican Lasagna, corn tortillas take the place of pasta, American style ground beef taco meat takes the place of Sugo di Carne, Mexican melting cheese takes the place of Italian Three Cheese Mix and a spicy tomato sauce takes the place of Salsa di Pomodoro.
     There are hundreds of Standard Mexican Lasagna recipes on the internet, so I just had to do something different.  The goal of today's Mexican Lasagna recipe was to kick the flavor up a notch.  Instead of using American fast food style ground beef taco meat, Picadillo was a better choice.  Picadillo is made with ground beef, but Picadillo has a very complex semi sweet spicy flavor that will certainly raise the eyebrows of guests.  Refritos and Mexican Rice are also added to the layers in today's Mexican Picadillo Lasagna.  These items add a high nutritional value while increasing the flavor.  
     Topping the Mexican Picadillo Lasagna with just spicy tomato sauce and cheese would just be too ordinary.  Mexican Picadillo Lasagna deserves a special topping, so three sauces that represent the colors of the Mexican National Flag seemed like the best choice.  The Tomato Adobo Sauce (Red Sauce) is made with medium spicy hot dried red chile peppers and tomato.  Salsa Verde (Green Sauce) is made with tomatillos, green chiles and aromatic vegetables.   green chile sauce.  Tomatillos are not green tomatoes.  The white sauce is simply Mexican Crema, which is the same as French Crème Fraîche.  Mexican Picadillo Lasagna topped with these three colorful sauces not only looks good, it also tastes great!
     There is a trick to painting an entrée with multiple sauces.  The three sauces all must be made so they have the same consistency or they will bleed into each other.  Since the consistency of crema does not change, the red sauce and green sauce must be made just as thick as the crema.  

    *The Refritos and Picadillo take a few hours to make, so plan accordingly.

     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     Canned Refritos are an option, but home made Refritos are best.
     • Refried Pinto Beans ~ Refritos!
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     • Picadillo de Monterrey

     This recipe yields 1/2 cup.  (2 garnish portions.)
     Pre-made Crema is available in Mexican food markets and most grocery stores.  If none is available, then follow this recipe.  
     Step 1:  Place 1/3 cup of sour cream in a mixing bowl.  
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of cream.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Place the Crema in a container.
     Chill the Crema till it is needed.  

     Salsa Verde:
     Follow the link to the recipe in this website.
     *Be sure to thoroughly puree the salsa verde.  After the sauce is pureed, gently simmer and reduce the sauce till it is the same consistency as the Crema.  The finished Salsa Verde can be chilled, then reheated when needed.
     • Salsa Verde

     Tomate Adobo Sauce:
     This recipe yields about 2/3 cup.   
     Step 1:  Place 2 seeded dried Chile Puya (Chile Pulla) in a small sauce pot.
     Add 1 seeded dried Chile Guajillo.  
     Add 1 1/2 cups of water.  
     Simmer the chiles over low heat till they are soft.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Step 2:  Add 1/3 cup of tomato puree.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of tomato paste.  
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.  
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 2 pinches of sea salt and white pepper.
     Step 3:  Use an emersion blender, blender or food processor to thoroughly puree the sauce.
     Return the sauce to the sauce pot.  
     Step 4:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Simmer and reduce till the Tomate Adobo sauce is the same consistency as the Crema.  (Medium sauce consistency.)   
     Step 5:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Reheat the sauce over very low heat just before serving.    

     Mexican Rice:
     This recipe yields about 3/4 cup.
     There are many variations of Mexican Rice.  This recipe has corn added.
     Step 1:  Place a sauce pot over medium high heat.  
     Add 1/2 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of corn kernels.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced onion.
     Add 1 tablespoon of diced green bell pepper.
     Add 1 teaspoon of tomato puree.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of Spanish Paprika.
     Add 1 pinch of cumin.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
     Step 2:  Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Add 1/4 cup of long grain white rice.
     Return the liquid to a boil. 
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.  
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of minced cilantro. 
     Cover the pot with a lid.  
     Gently simmer and steam till the rice is tender.  (About 20 minutes.)
     Step 4:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Keep the Mexican Rice warm on a stove top. 

     Mexican Picadillo Lasagna:
     This recipe yields 1 hearty individual portion. 
     Step 1:  Select a round individual portion size casserole dish that is 7" to 8" in diameter.
     Step 2:  Place 3 tablespoons of the Tomate Adobo Sauce in a small mixing bowl.  
     Add 1 tablespoon of water.
     Pour 2 tablespoons of the thinned sauce into the casserole dish.
     Spread the sauce evenly.
     Set the remaining thinned sauce aside.    
     Step 3:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla on the thin Tomate Adobo Sauce.  
     Place 1/2 cup of Picadillo on the tortilla.
     Evenly spread the Picadillo.  
     Step 4:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla on the Picadillo layer.  
     Place 1/2 cup of Mexican Rice on the second tortilla.
     Evenly spread the rice.  
     Step 5:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla on top of the rice layer.  
     Place 1/2 cup of warm Refritos on the third tortilla.
     Evenly spread the Refritos.  
     Step 6:  Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of chopped roasted poblano pepper over the refried beans.  
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of grated Queso Fresco over the refried beans.  
     Step 7:  Place a 6" wide corn tortilla over the bean, poblano and cheese layer.  
     Spoon the remaining 2 tablespoons of Thinned Tomate Adobo Sauce over the fourth tortilla.  
     Step 8:  Place the casserole dish on a baking pan.
     Cover the casserole dish with a loose fitting lid.  
     Place the pan in a 300ºF oven.
     Bake till the lasagna is warm.  (165ºF center temperature)  
     Step 9:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Remove the lid.  
     Sprinkle 1/4 cup of grated Gueso Asadero over the lasagna.  
     Return the pan to the 300ºF oven.  
     Bake till the cheese melts and the lasagna is piping hot.  (Try not to brown the cheese!)
     Step 10:  Remove the pan from the oven.
     Set the Mexican Picadillo Lasagna casserole dish on a doily lined serving plate.  
     Step 11:  *Light color sauces should be applied last!  The Crema Sauce should be applied to the center third of the lasagna, so the Mexican Flag colors are correct!
     Look at the top of the lasagna and visualize 3 evenly spaced stripes.
     Spread 3 or 4 tablespoons of the Tomate Adobo Sauce over 1/3 of the lasagna.  (Leave the other 2/3's of the surface bare.)    
     Spoon 3 or 4 tablespoons of the Salsa Verde over the opposite 1/3 of the surface of the lasagna.  (Leave the center 1/3 bare.)  
     Spoon and spread 3 or 4 tablespoons of the Crema on the middle 1/3 of the lasagna surface, between the red and green sauces.  
     Step 12:  Garnish the rim of the casserole dish with thin sliced green onion and cilantro sprigs.  
     Place a black olive on the center of the Mexican Picadillo Lasagna.  

     Viola!  A tasty Mexican Picadillo Lasagna that looks great! 

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