Pastel Azteca (mexican chicken casserole)

This pastel azteca recipe is the perfect dinner for any weekday. A casserole dish that’s filled with mexican flavors, such a chipotle based sauce, poblano peppers and corn. Make it ahead of time and enjoy a hassle-free meal.

Delicioso pastel azteca de pollo y verduras.

I love making this dish one or two days before I have people over for dinner. Then, I’ll just bake it one hour before they arrive and serve with a green salad as a side dish. Is so delicious and everyone loves it and ask for the recipe.

What is Pastel Azteca?

Pastel Azteca is a delicious mexican casserole dish perfect for a family dinner or a gathering with friends. Is often referred as the mexican lasagna because the dish is prepared making layers of tortillas (instead of pasta), shredded chicken, vegetables, tomato sauce, cream and cheese.

It’s a hearty dish that can be made with leftovers, so you can adjust ingredients with anything you might have available in your fridge; use any sauce you’ll have on hand, no matter if it’s red or green sauce. And your leftover Thanksgiving turkey finds a happy home here too!

Vegetarian version

If you want to make a vegetarian version of this dish, you can just omit the chicken and go heavy on the veggies. You can add more types of vegetables; for example zucchini, roasted eggplants or even mushrooms.

Ingredients

TORTILLAS – Use corn tortillas. Flour tortillas just gets too soggy in this recipe.

CHICKEN – You can make your own shredded chicken exclusively for this recipe or use leftovers. I have even used turkey from Thanksgiving leftovers!

VEGETABLES – Chile poblano, onions and fresh corn kernels. I am also leaving you below some options in case you can’t find poblanos or fresh corn.

SAUCE – We using a simple recipe for tomato sauce. Use caned if you want to or also tomatillo green sauce is a good option.

CHEESE & CREAM – Queso Oaxaca (quesillo) and mexican cream. Read below to know hot to replace those.

Substitutes for mexican ingredients

POBLANO PEPPERS – Use green bell peppers instead. Or also italian green peppers (friggitelli) which are pretty similar in taste.

QUESO OAXACA – You can actually use any melty cheese you find where you live. Some options are: Gouda, Caciotta, Monterey Jack, Mozzarella, Fontina, Gruyère, Cheddar.

MEXICAN CREAM – You can make a homemade “recipe” for mexican cream like this: 1 part of any full fat cream + 1/2 part of greek yogurt + lemon juice + salt. Adjust to taste and there you go, a copycat of mexican cream.

FRESH CORN – Fresh corn is a nice addition, but if you can’t find it just use canned sweet corn.

Pastel Azteca recipe

Place chicken, onion, bay leaf, garlic and a little salt in a pot then cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the meat is tender. Strain the broth and let the chicken cool and then shred it using two forks. Set everything aside.

pollo desmenuzado para la preparación del platillo.

Preparare the sauce

Put the tomatoes, onion, chilies, garlic and a cup of the chicken broth in a blender. Blend until you get a smooth sauce.

In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the sauce, season with salt to taste and add the cumin.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat to low, let the sauce reduce until it is thick (about 10 minutes). You gonna end with about 2 cups of sauce.

salsa de tomate cocinándose en la estufa para la preparación del platillo

Cook the vegetables

Roast poblano peppers (or bell peppers). Place them in a plastic bag and let them sit for about 10 minutes. Carefully peel peppers, cut them in half and discard the stem and all the seeds along with the veins; cut it into strips.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions and corn together until both are tender. Add the poblano pepper and season everything. Add one or two tablespoons of chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly until all the liquid evaporates and the vegetables are tender. Set aside.

guisado de chile poblano, elote y cebolla. Este es un relleno para el Pastel Azteca.

Prepare the tortillas

Fry the tortillas in oil. They need to be soft, so pay attention to not fry them so long or they will get crunchy. Place them in a plate and set aside.

Assemble & bake

Preheat the oven at 180°C / 350 F. Lightly oil a 22x22cm (8.5×8.5″) baking dish.

Start by adding some tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place four tortillas, they should overlap slightly.

Add more sauce then some shreded chicken, vegetables, cream a cheese.

Repeat until all ingredients are gone finishing with a good amount of sauce, cream and cheese on top.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble and brown. Remove from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

The mexican menu

Serve with a green salad on the side and guacamole sauce; pair with chia and lemon fresca and then finish the meal with a creamy homemade elote ice cream.

How To Make Tortillas

In the mood for pastel azteca but you can’t find store-bought tortillas? Here’s our step by step recipe (include a video!) to make them at home.

Budin (pastel) Azteca.

Pastel Azteca (Mexican Lasagna)

Pastel Azteca is a mexican casserole dish that is made with layers of tortillas, sauce, shredded chicken and cream. A gooey, melty cheese top completes this dish that is perfect to serve for family dinners.
PREP 30 minutes
COOK 1 hour
TOTAL 1 hour 30 minutes
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • A 22x22cm (8.5×8.5″) baking dish

Ingredients 

For the chicken

  • 1 chicken breast (400 gr)
  • ½ medium onion (50 gr)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt

For the vegetable filling

  • 1 ¼ cups fresh corn kernels (200 gr) (or canned corn)
  • 1 large poblano pepper (or green bell pepper)
  • 1 medium onions (70 gr) (finely sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • salt and pepper

For the sauce

  • 1.1 lb tomatoes (500 gr) (cut in quarters)
  • 1 medium onion (50 gr) (cut in quarters)
  • 2 chipotle chillies (optional)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp oil

For pastel azteca

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 ¾ cups Mexican cream (350 gr)
  • 2 cups Oaxaca cheese (250 gr) (or any other string cheese)

Instructions

  • Place chicken, onion, bay leaf, garlic and a little salt in a pot then cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook until the meat is tender.
  • Strain the broth and let the chicken cool and then shred it using two forks. Set everything aside.

PREPARARE THE SAUCE:

  • Put the tomatoes, onion, chilies, garlic and a cup of the chicken broth in a blender. Blend until you get a smooth sauce.
  • In a saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and add the sauce, season with salt to taste and add the cumin.
  • Bring to a boil and lower the heat to low, let the sauce reduce until it is thick (about 10 minutes). You gonna end with about 2 cups of sauce.

COOK THE VEGETABLES

  • Roast poblano peppers (or the bell peppers). Place them in a plastic bag and let them sit for about 10 minutes.
  • Carefully peel peppers, cut them in half and discard the stem and all the seeds along with the veins; cut it into strips.
  • In a frying pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions and corn together until both are tender. Add the poblano pepper and season everything.
  • Add one or two tablespoons of chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly until all the liquid evaporates and the vegetables are tender. Set aside.

PREPARE THE TORTILLAS

  • Fry the tortillas in oil. They need to be soft, so pay attention to not fry them so long or they will get crunchy. Place them in a plate and set aside.

ASSEMBLE & BAKE

  • Preheat the oven at 180°C / 350 F.
  • Start by adding some tomato sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Place four tortillas, they should overlap slightly.
  • Add more sauce then some chicken, vegetables, cream a cheese. Repeat until all ingredients are gone finishing with a good amount of sauce, cream and cheese on top.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese starts to bubble and brown. Take off from the oven and let it sit for about 10 minutes before serving.

notes

The recipe yields a 22x22cm (8.5×8.5″) baking dish and about 3-4 portions if serving with a salad as a side-dish. Feel free to double the quantities for more portions or to make a bigger casserole.
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