My mom has been on a cooking frenzy lately and whipped up this easy casserole that she saw on The Chew. Since she lives 3 hours away from me she saved us some and froze it. I have to say it froze really nicely and I loved the taste. I think when we make it I’ll add some spicy green chilies you can get in the can just to kick it up a little.

Aztec Chicken Casserole

(Adapted from Pati Jinich)

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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

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

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.

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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