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Mexican “lasagna” is built from layers of corn tortillas, sauce, meat and cheese

Chicken, Salsa Verde and Tortilla Casserole (Pastel Azteca)

2 hours 1¼ hours active, plus resting

Chicken, Salsa Verde and Tortilla Casserole (Pastel Azteca)

Though pastel azteca translates from the Spanish as “Aztec cake,” the dish often is referred to in English as Mexican lasagna, enchilada casserole or tortilla pie—and understandably so. It is comprised of corn tortillas layered with sauce, meat, cheeses, crema (a cultured cream similar to crème fraîche) and vegetables; a stint in the oven brings together all the elements. Our recipe is an adaptation of the pastel azteca taught to us in Mexico City by chef Esmerelda Brinn Bolaños. We swapped chicken thighs for the dark-meat turkey that she used and found readily available substitutes for the locally made Mexican cheeses. We opted for pepper Jack cheese because of its melting qualities and mild spiciness; if you prefer, use regular Jack cheese or even mozzarella. To assemble and bake the casserole, we use a 9-inch springform pan for a presentation that reveals the impressive layers and allows for slicing into wedges for serving.

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