Last year we started to make far more Mexican meals at home. We fell even more deeply in love with Mexican cuisine while on a family holiday to LA where there’s incredible Mexican food EVERYWHERE.
Hot tips for great Mexican food in LA: For cheap eats find a little pocket of heaven in the beach town of Hermosa Beach near the airport, “La Playita” has to be on your list. For a posh, so-hot-right-now modern Mexican option try the vegan restaurant Gracias Madre. SO. YUM.
First, we started with Taco Tuesdays, but, as per usual with me, it felt restrictive to just do tacos and variations on the theme. So, we switched up the day of the week and decided to do Mexican Mondays. Having Mexican Mondays instated in our home meant coming up with a few different things to try and learning more about Mexican food culture, especially their sauces, spice mixes and cooking techniques. All this learning led to more experimentation in the kitchen and the creation of some fun new family meals.
You may have come to know my mid-week dinner inventions as adventurous as much as they are also very SIMPLE. I am a huge fan of single pot cooking and I wanted to do something that wasn’t wrapped in a tortilla like a taco, but had a tortilla-like ‘top’. After coming up with this idea I had to problem solve it so it wouldn’t break or go soggy, which is when I came up with a hot cake textured top idea, BUT with a Mexican twist! It may sound strange, but what eventuated was this: A mince + beans + veggie base covered in a Mexican hotcake mixture. And, you know what? It turned out to be a comforting, super easy and oh-so-yummy meal.
I’ve made this recipe three times now because I’m a big fan of steering you towards a winner and being absolutely sure it’s great. If pork isn’t your speed you can switch out the pork mince for chicken or beef or triple the black beans for a vegetarian version. Don’t have the right veg on hand? You can leave out the greens or switch with zucchini. Don’t be too rigid and just use what you have as long as the general gist is there. The top, obviously, though does need those proportions and textures to be right.
I hope it brings you some delicious mid-week comfort. This recipe is perfect for a family of 6, or our little family of 3, with a lunch for me and two lunchbox hot-pot reheats for the little man.
Prep time: 30 minutes. Cook time: 30 minutes. Recipe serves: 6 people.
Mexican Pork & Black Bean Pie Filling
2 cups roughly chopped purple onion
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or ghee
½ tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried or finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 clove garlic
500 g minced pork
1 cup cooked black beans either soak 2/3 cup black beans in water and a tbsp lemon juice for 12 hours and simmer for 1.5 hours, OR buy a BPA / BPS free tin of cooked black beans
1 ½ cup tomato passata – I love to use passata over tinned tomatoes to avoid aluminium or potential BPA/BPS tin lining leaching, as tomatoes are acidic and leaching potential increases. Glass passata jars are great and perfect for stock/broth storage thereafter
½ cup water
½ cup chopped cilantro / coriander
½ cup cup scallions / spring onion, fine chopped
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp smoky hot sauce (optional but wow it makes it for the adults… use separately on your helping if you have kids who can’t hack spice.
1 corn cob, kernels chopped off
1 cup cavolo nero, collard greens or baby spinach whatever is in season or available where you are
Mexican Pork & Black Bean Pie Topping
1 cup masa harina (rough corn flour with lime (not starch!)
½ cup goat’s yoghurt (sub with any other yoghurt you prefer)
½ cup quinoa flour (or rice / buckwheat / sorghum)
1 egg, whisk in a mug before adding to the bowl
1 ½ cups water
1 cup scallions/spring onions, fine chopped
½ cup fine chopped coriander/cilantro
1 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup grated cheddar cheese. Not necessary but if your house is a cheesy top house and has no dairy issues, then feel free to add – or substitute with a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
1. Sauté onions in your olive oil/ghee until well softened and starting to brown then add the dry spices – paprika/oregano/rosemary for 1 minute until it becomes super fragrant.
2. Add the garlic and pork mince and cook for 3-4 minutes until the mince is starting to brown a little
3. Add the tomato passata, black beans, water, scallion/spring onions, coriander, sea salt, corn kernels, cavolo nero/baby spinach/collard greens and the optional hot sauce if you’re adding it. Leave all to simmer on low for 10 minutes while you assemble the pie top.
Pie Top & Finishing Pie Method
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F fan forced and grab a big mixing bowl.
2. Place the masa harina, goat’s yoghurt, quinoa flour, water, chopped scallion/spring onions, egg, coriander and olive oil all into a bowl and mix by hand until well combined. This mix is going to need to be able to spread over the top of the pan filled with the mince mix, so if it’s too thick to spread for whatever reason, just add 2 tbsp goat’s yoghurt and another ¼ cup water and mix thoroughly again to make it runnier.
3. Switch off the pan with the mince bubbling away. Pour the pie topping mixture over the top and spread over the whole mince mix to cover the completely around to all the edges of the pan. Top with cheese if you’re adding it.
4. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is getting golden.
5. Serve to people you love, have lovely chats, light candles and be grateful for the feasts we take the time to prepare and share. Simple pleasures yet so, so lucky, right?
Find more fantastic low-tox recipes and advice on Alexx’s website, Low Tox Life.
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