It hardly seems like ten years ago but the dawn of the aughts found me in Sunshine, New Mexico in the kitchen of New Mexico native Maria. This tia was resplendent in a patio dress as she hustled about her kitchen making a homey casserole for the assembled throng ready to celebrate New Years eve on the playa.

Women like Maria are getting scarce, good ones who can knock out a batch of blue corn tortillas while the posole simmers in a kettle near the fire.

Last weekend found me racing around my kitchen (not in a patio dress) trying to come up with a dish that could feed a crowd of hungry soccer fans. That’s when I thought of Maria. The result follows: Ingredients

12 each, tortillas, blue corn if possible

2 12 oz cans tomatoes, whole, peeled

1 c. cream

2 lbs, Pork, Roasted or smoked, cubed

16 oz Black Beans, that have been cooked “down” with plenty garlic and onion

1 lb Cheese, Pepper Jack, grated

4 oz Cheese, Queso Salvadorena, grated

4 each, Peppers, Hatch, Roasted, chopped

Method Part 1:

* Drizzle each tortilla with a little olive oil and place in 250 degree oven

* Roast for ten minutes

* Pour tomatoes and beans into blender, puree’ til smooth

* Pour into saucepan with cream, bring to boil, simmer for 20 minutes

Method Part 2:

* Pour skift of tomato/bean mixture into bottom of 9×14 casserole pan

* Place 6 warm tortillas in bottom of pan

* Scatter half of cooked pork over tortillas

* Add half of chopped chiles

* Pour more of tomato/bean mixture over assemblage

* Add half of grated cheeses

* Repeat method part 2 ending with grated cheeses

Bake at 250 degrees for 20 minutes

Garnish for this casserole is crema salvadorena or sour cream if you don’t have access to the good stuff and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

Bon Appetit Y’all. This is New Mexico comfort food at it’s finest.

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