For my second venture into historical weekend cooking I took on a recipe from my newly acquired Provisions & Politics: Recipes Honoring First Lady Sarah Childress Polk. To give you an idea what this cookbook is like – there are recipes from all different categories of cooking: appetizers, pastries, sides etc. At the beginning of the book they break their recipes into different menus you could use – some of the menus relate to the Polks – such as Polk Spring Pilgrimage Luncheon.
The recipe that I chose was Texas-Style Lasagna. During the election of James K. Polk, he ran on a platform of annexing Texas and Oregon. After it was determined that Polk was President Elect, sitting President Tyler urged Congress to pass Texas Annexation (as he was not a fan of Polk and probably didn’t want him to succeed at promises). One of the things Polk is known for is Texas Annexation and I am assuming that is where this recipe fits in.
5-6 hearty servings
1 ½ pounds ground beef
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 oz) can chopped green chilies
1 teaspoon (t) seasoned salt
1 packet taco seasoning
2 cups (c) small curd cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
12 (6 inch) torn tortillas
3 ½ - 4 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1) Preheat oven to 350°F.
2) Brown the ground beef in a large skillet, stirring until crumbly and drain. Stir in tomato sauce, undrained tomatoes, green chilies, salt and taco seasoning. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3) Combine the cottage cheese and eggs in a bowl and mix well.
4) Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Layer the ground beef mixture, tortillas, cottage cheese mixture, and Monterey Jack cheese ½ at a time.
5) Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
I had my doubts about this recipe before I made it because of the tortillas within the layers. I have not had good luck with tortillas when they are within a recipe because they get mushy and ruin the dish, and that is sort of what happened here as well. I put a layer or tortillas and shredded cheese on the top and those came out fine – crispy and cheesy – but the layer between cottage cheese and the meat came out mushy and floppy.
But not all is lost - the flavors of the cottage cheese mixture and the meat mixture were very good and an interesting spin on a traditional Italian lasagna. I would recommend a few changes here that would vastly improve on some of the issues. Instead of layering with tortillas, I would use lasagna noodles – if you still want it in lasagna form. When I scooped out the tortilla lasagna it didn’t really stay in a form, sort of mushed out. If you want, you could top the lasagna with a layer of torn tortillas and cheese, as that will still remain crispy and a nod to the original recipe.
Not a total bust and I would certainly try it again in my redux form.
Weekend Cooking is hosted by Beth F at Beth Fish Reads. Any post remotely related to cooking qualifies!
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