6:00 AM Mexico City, she is all dressed up ready for her office job, working at her own rhythm. Like someone that had master the small alley shape kitchen space after years of living there. I didn’t know she could cook, I knew her as the world traveler, elegant, Independent, single and professional aunt. But this time she surprised me. I asked her: What are you cooking? “I am making dinner: Pastel Azteca”, she said. It will be baked when I come back from work. At that moment, I made a mental note to myself to be there for dinner. How could someone miss it, If mole sauce was invited! That was more than 27 years ago and although this is not the authentic recipe for “Pastel Azteca”, in our home we still call it that way. And every time I prepared it, the time machine takes me back into that kitchen in Mexico City, to that particular morning and to Aunt E. preparing her “Mole Sauce Casserole”
Ingredients for 6 servings:
9 Corn Tortillas at least one day old or left overnight in your kitchen counter to dry
2 cups of cooked chicken finely shredded
2 cups of homemade mole sauce, recipe HERE. If using store bought paste made according to the instructions in the jar.
1 cup of shredded cheese (mozzarella and muenster work fine)*
1/3 of a large onion thinly sliced
Salt and pepper to season the chicken
*You can use a mix of half queso fresco and half of your favorite melting cheese.
- Leftover rotisserie chicken works fine in this recipe
- If store bought Mole paste is used, try to use a good quality brand. Nowadays Hispanic Stores carry some artisanal local made pastes.
- You can omit the chicken to make it a meatless dish.
1. Preheat your oven at 350 degrees. Heat the sauce in a skillet until it is warm but not hot. The tortillas should be dry to have nice layers, they will soften while baking. These ones in the above picture where left in the oven racks overnight, with the oven OFF. This way, I do not have to fry them to keep its shape. They resemble lasagna sheets.
2. Place a few spoons of the sauce to the bottom of your oven proof dish. Add 3 tortillas and spoon some more of the sauce over the tortillas. Completely covering the tortillas with the sauce.
3. Top the mole sauce with 1/3 of the chicken, cheese and onion slices. Repeat process to form the layers.
4. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover during the last 10 minutes of the baking process.
Serve with a salad and enjoy!