I catered a luncheon last week for a group of guys. They didn't want sandwiches but something warm and hearty instead. Since it was really close to Dia de Los Muertos, I decided to put together a tortilla bake with some "south of the border" flavors. They LOVED it and I know you will too. Don't let the list of ingredients put you off, after you make it the first time, the then familiar process goes quickly. Make this after Thanksgiving and you can use your leftover turkey instead of chicken or, instead of meat, layer in butternut or Delicata squash for a vegetarian version. This 'bake' has bold Mexican flavor without being too spicy, it freezes well so you can make it ahead and it feeds a crowd of 8-10. Add your own salsa to kick it up a notch!
Chicken Tortilla Bake
4 T butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped to 1/4"
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped to 1/4"
2 medium poblano peppers, chopped to 1/4"
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced finely
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
1 T New Mexico chile powder
1 T ground cumin
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 c flour (use an alternative flour for a gluten free version)
1 - 14 oz can chicken broth (or about 1 3/4 c)
1 - 10 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/2 c sour cream
2 lbs cooked chicken, (I used poached breast meat the first time and a store bought rotisserie chicken the second time I made it.)
1 c fresh cilantro leaves, chopped coarsely
2 c grated jack cheese (about 8 oz)
2 c grated sharp cheddar cheese (about 8 oz)
18 (8") soft taco-size corn tortillas
1/4 c veggie oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the two cheeses in a bowl. Put the chicken and the cilantro in a bowl and toss to combine. Melt the butter in a wide skillet over med-high heat. Add the onion and all of the peppers, cooking for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened and browned lightly. Add in the garlic, spices, salt and pepper and cook for about a minute more. Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and sour cream, then add the veggie, sour cream mixture to the chicken.
Heat a large skillet over high heat. Brush the tortillas with the oil on both sides and cook in batches, a few of minutes on each side until slightly crispy.
Lightly grease a 13" x 9" and line with 6 of the crisped tortillas. Top with 1/2 of the chicken mixture and 1/3 of the cheese. Add another layer of tortillas, the rest of the chicken mixture and 1/2 of the remaining cheese. Add the last layer of tortillas and the rest of the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes, uncover and bake for 10-15 minutes more until it is browned and bubbly. Let sit 10 minutes before cutting.
Serve with sour cream or Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado and your favorite salsa.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
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