comfort food… the grad student way

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Last night I was craving real comfort food… you know, the kind of food that you can eat piles of and still be hungry for more? So I pulled out an old recipe from the graduate school coffers and whipped up a batch of tortilla pie. The recipe was in an issue of Gourmet Magazine right before I headed back to classes, and it was one of those “make now & eat for a week” kind of meals. Plus it was fast and easy to whip up with simple ingredients… I’m not sure I could have asked for anything more!

Tortilla Pie — Gourmet Magazine — April 2005  (with modifications in italics)

  • 1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10-oz) package frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • 1 cup mild tomato salsa
  • 1 (8-oz) can tomato sauce
  • 6 oz pepper  Jack cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 5 corn tortillas
  • 1/2 lb ground turkey (browned)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


Put oven rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 450°F.

Stir together beans, corn, salsa, tomato sauce, cheese, cilantro, scallions, turkey, and cumin in a large bowl.

Heat a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until smoking. Brush both sides of each tortilla with oil and fry, turning over once, until puffed and golden in spots, about 1 minute.

Put 1 tortilla in a well-oiled 15- by 10-inch shallow baking pan, then spread with 1 1/3 cups of filling. Repeat layering twice, then top with remaining tortilla, gently pressing to help layers adhere.

Bake until filling is heated through, about 12 minutes. Transfer with a large metal spatula to a platter, then cut pie into wedges with a serrated knife.