If I were to compare the Aztec pie with some other dish, I'd say it's like a Mexican lasagne, because the preparation is very similar, but it tastes nothing like it. It's basically a layered pie of corn tortillas, poblano chillies, corn, salsa, sour cream and Oaxaca cheese – a white cheese that can stretch like mozzarella.
- 12 small corn tortillas (15 cm size)
- 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
- 7 (1 kg) ripe tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ½ brown onion, chopped
- 5 green serrano chillies, deseeded (see Note)
- 4 sprigs coriander
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg chicken breast fillet (3 medium size)
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ brown onion
- pinch salt
- 3 corn cobs
- 4 fresh poblano chillies (see Note) (substitute with 1 green capsicums if absolutely necessary)
- 400 ml pure cream
- 300 ml sour cream
- 250 g shredded Oaxaca string cheese (or mozzarella) (see Note)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
For the salsa, bring all ingredients to the boil in a saucepan, then reduce heat and simmer until tomatoes are tender. Place all ingredients in a blender with a small amount of the liquid and blend until smooth. Return to saucepan with olive oil and cook until it thickens and shows a rich red colour. Season to taste or even add a little vegetable stock powder.
For the chicken filling, place the chicken breasts in a saucepan and cover with water. Add the garlic, onion and salt. Bring almost to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer gently for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and rest for 20 minutes until just warm. Drain, shred and set aside.
Meanwhile, chargrill the corn, covered with foil, turning occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until lightly charred and tender. Cut corn kernels from the cobs. Chargrill the poblano chillies for 10-15 minutes, covered until blackened lightly all over. Place in a dish, cover and set aside for 5 minutes for the skin to loosen. Skin, deseed and cut into thin strips. Whisk cream and sour cream together in a bowl.
Preheat oven to 180˚C. Place a large frypan over high heat. Add a drizzle of oil (1½ tsp), and fry the tortillas in batches for 1 minute each side, or until tough rather than crispy (you want to give them some body so they don't go too soggy when you bake them in the next step).
Dip 4 tortillas in the salsa, then lay in a baking dish. Add one-third each of the shredded chicken, corn kernels, poblano chillies, salsa, sour cream and cheese. Repeat 2 more times without dipping the remaining tortillas in the sauce to create a total of 3 layers.
Cover the dish with a layer of baking paper and a layer of foil. Bake for 20 minutes until heated through and cheese has melted. Remove the cover and increase heat to 200˚C. Cook until cheese is golden brown.
• Serrano chillies are small-medium size and quite hot. Substitute jalapeno if unavailable.
• Poblano chillies may be hard to find, but are available in season in Australia. Ask at your local greengrocer.
• Oaxaca ''string ball'' cheese is available from Pazar Food Collective, Sydney.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Michelle Noerianto. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.