Vegetarian Chili Masa Cake Stacks

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
40 min
45 min

6 to 8 servings

  • 1 red onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 cups instant masa flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/8 cups water
  • 1 cup cold Vegetarian Chili, recipe follows
  • Vegetable oil, for pan-frying
  • 2 cups hot Vegetarian Chili, recipe follows
  • 1/2 cup grated Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Essence, recipe follows
  • 3 cups chiffonade Romaine lettuce
  • 2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes
  • Sour cream, as accompaniment
  • Vegetarian Chili:
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 to 3 serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded, and minced, depending upon taste
  • 1 medium zucchini, stem ends trimmed and cut into small dice
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushrooms (about 5 large), stemmed, wiped clean and cubed
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cups cooked black beans, or canned beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup vegetable stock, or water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Cooked brown rice, accompaniment
  • Sour cream or strained plain yogurt, garnish
  • Diced avocado, garnish
  • Essence, recipe follows, garnish
  • Chopped green onions, garnish
  • Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • Place the sliced onions in a small bowl and add the vinegar. Mix and let the onions sit while you prepare the rest of the dish.

  • In a large bowl, combine the masa, salt, and cumin. Add the water and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands, until the mixture forms a crumbly dough and holds together when formed into a ball without sticking to your hands.

  • Take a small portion of the dough and shape into a thin (less than 1/4-inch) patty. Place a teaspoon or so of the cold chili in the center of the dough and top with a little cheese. Make another thin patty and top the chili, pressing the edges to seal the chili inside the masa cake. Work the patty with your hands so it is even thickness. Repeat with the remaining dough, to make 8 cakes.

  • Fill a large saute pan with 3/4-inch of the oil and heat over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, pan-fry the cakes, in batches, so they are golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a paper towel lined plate and season with Essence.

  • To serve: Place a small pool of the hot chili on each of 4 plates. Place 1 cake in the center of the chili. Top with some of the lettuce and tomatoes. Top with another cake and place some of the pickled onions on top. Drizzle with sour cream and serve.

Vegetarian Chili:
  • In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers, garlic, and serrano peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the zucchini, corn, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring, until soft and the vegetables give off their liquid and start to brown around the edges, about 6 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, salt and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and stir well. Add the beans, tomato sauce, and vegetable stock, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.

  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Adjust the seasoning, to taste.

  • To serve, place 1/4 cup of brown rice in the bottom of each bowl. Ladle the chili into the bowls over the rice. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream and spoonful of avocado. Sprinkle with Essence and green onions and serve.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

  • Yield: 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch

  • Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

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