Editor’s note: Kayleigh is on family leave following the birth of her daughter Laila Reè Baig on Dec. 6. We are reprinting some of our favorite “In the Kitchen” columns while she is on leave. This one was originally published on Dec. 27, 2014. We bet New Year’s morning in the Baig household is a wee bit different this year!
The year is coming to a close. We have been through pancake blizzards, a beet of a summer and even had a touch of pumpkin-itis in the fall. I can say I have learned a lot through this year — not only in the kitchen but also on my laptop.
New Year’s Eve for me has always been a time spent with family, ticking away the hours until midnight, drinking different concoctions made from leftover holiday spirits and snacking on finger foods until we are in a coma-like state waiting for the final countdown. Games and jokes delight us in between, leaving us chuckled out and rich on Monopoly money by the night’s end. Cheers to the new year with a glass of champagne (or orange juice for those feeling a little queasy) then it’s straight to hitting the sack.
We may sound like a bunch of lightweights but those concoctions we create are those of the hard variety — leaving us with nothing but headaches and a living room to clean up the next day. Notice I don’t say “morning.” The only thing you’ll find moving around in our silent household on New Year’s morning is the cat.
All crazy-haired and still in our pajamas, we slowly awaken and rise, pass around the pain reliever and think about mustering up something that will settle our boozy stomachs.
But no one wants to cook, so a pot of chili or some sandwiches will have to do the trick.
This year I plan to try something new, a perfect addition to a New Year’s tradition — a quick and easy meal that is oh-so-tasty and cheesy. Yes, cheesy. Mexican Skillet Pie. A large layered taco topped with cheesy goodness, it’s got the perfect balance of ingredients for those who need a good soaker-upper. What more could you ask for?
If you’re not the kind to stay up late or even get into the spirit of things, no worries, cook this up on New Year’s Eve and have a party of your own.
An added benefit of this dish is a short prep time. If you have more time on your hands, by all means make your enchilada sauce from scratch — but if your head is pounding or you stayed up too late, using pre-made isn’t a crime.
Happy New Year!
Mexican Skillet Pie
2 lb. ground beef or turkey
1/2 cup beef stock
6 large flour tortillas
1 small onion, small dice
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 package taco seasoning, mild
1 cup enchilada sauce
1 16-oz can refried beans
1 16-oz package of shredded cheese, such as cheddar, Monterey or a blend
3 scallions, chopped small
salt and pepper to taste
• In a large skillet on medium heat, brown the beef. Add the stock and the taco seasoning. Cook for 1-2 mites, stirring to combine.
• Pour the browned meat and all the juices into a bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to the pan. Cook the onion and garlic until the onions become translucent. Add the onion mixture to the bowl with the meat.
• In the same skillet on medium heat add the rest of the oil. Add the flour to the oil stirring frequently, cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Pour into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir the ingredients in the bowl to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
• In a separate bowl whisk together the refried beans and the enchilada sauce. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• Wipe your skillet to remove any food pieces. Rub a little oil or cooking spray to help prevent your bottom layer from sticking. Place a tortilla in the bottom of the skillet. Spread a third of the meat mixture evenly on to p of the tortilla. Top with another tortilla. Spread half of the bean mixture on top of the tortilla. Sprinkle a very thin layer of cheese on top of the bean mixture, top with another tortilla. Repeat twice more with the meat and once more with the bean mixture being sure to alternate. Top with your last tortilla. Cover the top with the rest of the shredded cheese.
• Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until the cheese is bubbly. Remove from the oven, top with scallions. Slice and serve like a pie, top with sour cream.
Kayleigh Van Vliet Baig was born and raised in Riverhead, where she lives with her husband Tahir and their two dogs.
Kayleigh is in her third season as Sous Chef at a private kitchen in Southampton. Not only is she second in command but her main focus is on creating, preparing and executing cold dishes such as salads, hors d’œuvres, appetizers, canapés, pâtés and terrines. Kayleigh has been in the culinary industry for the last 15 years, working her way up in kitchens on the East End. She also is a personal chef.
Look for In the Kitchen with Kayleigh every Saturday on RiverheadLOCAL.com.
Got questions? Recipes? Ideas?