I returned home from spending a few great days in Texas late last night. I had planned to share a blog post with you yesterday, for a macaroni and cheese no less, and I figured I would have plenty of time to write it in transit. See, I booked my flight somewhat last minute, thus dooming myself to a non-direct flight, and I had what was supposed to be a three hour layover in Philadelphia.
But the general northeast experienced heavy winds and snow yesterday, and my plane sat on the runway for ninety minutes in Houston, after being delayed over forty-five minutes already. So I literally had twenty-five minutes to catch my flight in Philly, and if you’ve ever been to the Philly airport, you know that is quite a feat to undertake. Good lord that airport is awful. But undertake it I did, by sprinting with a large backpack and carry-on suitcase, and made my flight to New York with five minutes to spare. All this to say, my blog post did not get written!
So I’ll blog that one later today, and give you this one in the meantime! Travel troubles notwithstanding, I had a lovely time visiting my sister and brother-in-law, my nephew, and my newest niece, three-week-old Claire (or Baby Care, as she is known to her two-year-old big brother). It was so fun and I’m so glad I could help out a little. I’m a tad exhausted though – I don’t know how all you parents do it! I think I’ll stick to being an aunt (for now anyway).
Being an aunt really is the best, though. You can break all the parenting rules with impunity, like bribing them with presents so they’ll think you’re cool, and letting them run in the living room or throw rocks at you simply because they think it’s fun. They are so sweet and adorable, even when they lie to you and tell you that they are allowed to use that word or that Mommy does let them jump on the guest bed. I don’t care, I love them all.
Since I was recently in Texas, I thought Tex-Mex fare would be appropriate for today’s post. I suppose this is really French and Tex-Mex fusion, since it’s kind of like piling up traditional nacho toppings in a tart shell – a tart shell that happens to resemble a corn tortilla more than pie crust! Seriously, it’s the simplest tart shell you’ll ever make. Mix masa harina with warm water and salt, then press it into your tart pan and … ta daaaa! You have a tart shell! No rolling pin necessary. Try this one, it’s delicious. And think fondly of your nieces and nephews when you do!
2 1/2 cups masa harina
1 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste, divided
1 1/4 cups hot water
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans, well drained
2 tbs canola oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 cups shredded plain rotisserie chicken
2 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
A small handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
Good-quality jarred tomato salsa, for serving
Make the crust first. Preheat your oven to 375 F. Grease an 11-inch tart pan.
Whisk the masa harina and salt together in a medium bowl. Slowly add the hot water and mix until combined. The dough should be firm yet moist, and not dry, crumbly or sticky. Add the dough to the tart pan by pinching it out and spreading the little balls of dough all over the bottom of the pan. Using the bottom of a sturdy, flat-bottomed drinking glass, flatten the dough into an even layer onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Cover the dough with a piece of parchment paper. Add dried beans or pie weights, and bake for 15 minutes, or until the crust is firm. Remove from the oven and let cool.
Make your refried beans. In a medium bowl, smash up the drained beans with a potato masher. It’s fine if they’re still a little chunky. Preheat a skillet large enough to hold all of the beans over medium heat. Add the oil, then the garlic and cook for one minute, just until fragrant. Now, add the beans, cumin and a pinch of salt to taste. Cook, stirring, until the beans are dry, about 5 minutes. Set aside to let them cool a little bit.
Assemble the tart. Evenly spread the beans on the bottom of the tart shell, then add the shredded chicken. Top with the cheese. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes.
To serve, top with the chopped cilantro, then cut into wedges. Serve the salsa alongside.