Saturday 5 May 2007

Waiter waiter there’s a shark in my chilli non carne

I love Nachos but they seem to be too much corn chips and not enough veg and can leave you feeling a bit stuffed full of the wrong thing.

Then then week I came across a tortilla casserole on which had toasted tortillas broken up and baked in a casserole of Chilli Non Carne.

[Quick Diversion: I can’t take credit for the vegetarianising of the name – I recently came across it at - Domestic Affair blog and it seems so obvious I can’t believe I had to be told. I know it gets called ‘chilli’ in the States but this seems as confusing to me as calling capsicums ‘peppers’ in the UK. So I will stick to Chilli Non Carne.]

I occasionally do tortillas stacked with Chilli Non Carne between the layers but this new idea appealed to me because the tortillas seemed to be crisp in the recipe. But I decided that instead of burying all of them in the casserole, I wanted both soggy tortillas inside and crisp tortillas with cheese on top - just like nachos but will lots of veg and beans.

I lay awake at night envisaging the tortillas sticking up looking like shark fins and tool pleasure in the image of tiny sharks circling in my dinner. As is often the case, the tortillas weren’t as crisp as I thought they might be and they didn’t really stick up (as you can see in my photo). I am going to make this again and maybe will do it with crisp taco shells or even my fave green corn chips (but then would it just be nachos with lots of Chilli Non Carne???)

Here is my version of the recipe with my bog standard version of Chilli Non Carne. I usually try to make it with a protein in addition to the kidney beans. Yesterday I found some French lentils which I don’t think I have used before – they had a pleasing dark mysterious look to them which was what I was looking for. I was a bit unsure how long they needed for cooking which is probably why I cooked the Chilli Non Carne for longer than usual. I served it last night with lots of vegetables, guacamole and yoghurt. Delish!

Shark Fin Chilli Non Carne
(serves 4)
- 4 small corn tortillas*
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ cup puy lentils (or other proteins such as lentils, chopped nutloaf, tofu, tempeh!)
- 440g tin diced tomatoes
- 440g tin corn, drained
- 440g tin kidney beans, drained
- 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup water
- ¼ tsp veggie salt (or some promite, vegemite or yeast extract)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp chilli paste (or chilli powder)
- two small handfuls of cheese
(* If you can find gluten free ones it will be a gluten free meal. You could try corn chips or taco shells instead of crisping tortillas.)

Bake tortillas in on wire oven racks for 10 mins at 180ºC or til crisp. (mine started to get quite brown around the edges but were still soft in the middle when I took them out, so ‘crisp’ is just an ideal to strive towards).

Pour about 1 cm of water into largish saucepan and boil – add onion and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add puy lentils and cook a further 5 mins. Add remaining ingredients (except cheese). Cover and bring to boil. Cook, with lid on, on low heat for about 30 mins, (or less if you aren’t waiting for lentils to cook). Stir occasionally. It is ready when it thickens slightly. Check seasoning.

Break tortillas into pieces. Pour about half bean mixture into casserole dish, and sprinkle tortilla pieces on it. Cover with remaining bean mixture. Scatter with tortilla pieces and cheese. I gave a good grind of pepper over this (probably because it reminds me of how classy my mum’s cheese on toast looked with pepper on it when I was young and thought pepper very grown up.)

Bake at 230ºC for 15 mins – I baked it at a high temperature because I like my cheese quite nicely browned.

We ate the leftovers tonight, so this photo is of its second night with roasted fennel, zucchini, mushrooms, corn on the cob and a simple salad of tomato, cucumber and baby spinach with lime juice. (Still not quite sure about the fennel but will keep trying it out!)

On the Stereo:
Ultra Lounge: Various Artists


  1. Yum, that looks great! To make nachos a defendable dinner, I usually do refried beans, then add lots of capsicum, mushrooms and zucchini. I hadn't thought of the casserole-type approach and will have to give it a go.

  2. Thanks Cindy. I sometimes load my chilli non carne with vegies rather than have them on the side, and you could do so with this dish.

    I think my feelings about nachos being all crisps and no vegies come mainly from dissatisfaction when eating out.

    But also I like something a little different. Let me know if you try it.

  3. I absolutely agree! A scoop of processed salsa and another of sour cream topped with congealed cheese (and then probably a price tag of $12!) is a pretty disappointing plate of nachos, yet I've seen it in a lot of cafes and bars. We can start the revolution in our home kithcens. :-)

  4. Hey Johanna,
    wasn't sure what to eat for dinner tonight and my weight issue is a downfall from lack of vegetables... after reading yuor site, and realising you are my sister and live in the next suburb after all, i am not using your knowledge to my best advantage!!! hmm.... this is AMAZING and great and i want to eat all your food and i can definitely say i have ALWAYS enjoyed any dinner spread you have put on, from taste to presentation to the whole experience... so i am thinking maybe we should arrange some sort of regular dinner with you and E and S... maybe sunday nights, i could come help you and we could share meal ideas and we could alternate between houses maybe but yuor thirst and wonderful array of words describing these meals has absolutely blown me away, not sure how you find the time to tell the truth, but count me in.. how do i sign up to your HOUSE OF VEGETABLES?? love francesca xx

  5. thanks Francesca - I am always willing to share meals - regular dinners sound like a good thing - will talk more about it!

  6. Mmmmm… that sounds great! I will need to try this soon as my hubbie loves nachos, but like you I want more veg and less chips! Thanks for the idea!

  7. thanks Scottish Vegan - glad you want to try it as I want to have plenty of recipes to appeal to vegans despite my love of cheese - I tried a vegan cheese sauce lately for the first time and loved it - maybe you could do this with a vegan cheese sauce on top


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