Forget the quesadilla and the burrito -- your favorite Mexican ingredients come together in a new way in this spicy casserole.
Chicken Casserole with Chiles, Corn and Cheese
- For the Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 1/2 cup chopped White Onion
- 2 Garlic cloves (minced or pressed)
- 2 pounds Ripe Tomatoes (pureed; or one 28-ounce can tomato puree or crushed tomatoes)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried Oregano (preferably Mexican)
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 teaspoon Kosher or Coarse Sea Salt
For the Casserole:
- 3 cups fresh or thawed frozen Corn
- 8 Corn Tortillas
- 3 cups shredded cooked Chicken or Rotisserie Chicken
- 4 Poblano Chiles (charred; sweated; peeled; stemmed; seeded; and diced)
- 1 cup Mexican Creama (or Creme Fraiche or Heavy Cream)
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Mozzarella (or Monterey Jack or mild White Cheddar Cheese)
- Vegetable Oil
- For the Sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, oregano, bay leaf, and salt and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens and deepens to a darker red. Remove from the heat and discard the bay leaf.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- For the Casserole: If using frozen corn, cook it in simmering water for 3 minutes to heat; drain completely and set aside.
- Heat 1/4 inch oil in a medium skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. The oil is ready if when you dip the edge of a tortilla into it, it bubbles happily around the edges without going wild. Using tongs, dip the tortillas one at a time in the oil for 10 to 15 seconds per side. The tortilla will first appear to soften and then it will begin to crisp. Drain the cooked tortillas on a paper-towel-lined plate. Alternatively, you can lightly toast the tortillas on a hot comal or skillet set over medium heat.
- Spread one third of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a 9-x-13-inch baking dish. Layer 2 cups of the chicken, 2 cups of the corn, half of the poblano chiles, 1/3 cup of the cream, and on third of the cheese on top. Top with a layer of 4 tortillas. Repeat with another one third of the tomato sauce, the remaining chicken, corn, and poblanos, 1/3 cup of the cream, and another one third of the cheese. Top with the remaining 4 tortillas and the remaining sauce, cream, and cheese. Cover the dish with foil.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 15 to 20 more minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. Serve hot.