Forget the quesadilla and the burrito -- your favorite Mexican ingredients come together in a new way in this spicy casserole.
ingredients
ingredients
method
step-by-step directions

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
step-by-step directions
  • 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.
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