To say I love ‘thrifting’ is an understatement. And as a food blogger, I’m not alone. We’ve always got an eye out for unique dishes and props to use for our food photography sessions. I head straight to the dish/cookware section when I enter a thrift store then head to the cookbook shelf. Last week while visiting our local Humane Society Thrift Store I spied this gorgeous cookbook. The cover recipe was for Budín Azteca aka Aztec Casserole which matched this week’s Farmers Market bounty beautifully.
I was giddy when I pulled this gorgeous cookbook quietly off the shelf. Yes I said quietly. There’s an unspoken art to thrifting. When entering an isle do a rapid visual inspection of the wares ahead of you. If a treasure is spotted, you must act swiftly. Like the day I spied a Romertopf Clay Baker on the bottom shelf at the very end of my isle. I abandoned my buggie in order to maneuver my way to it without ever taking my eye off the prize. This one was worth a fight (only if necessary of course).
The Farmers Market, located just walking distance from my office, reopened for the summer this past week. Every Wednesday and Saturday morning from now through October our fresh produce will be purchased from our local farmers. Boy does that make me happy. Some of my favorite recipes on Lemony Thyme were Farmers Market inspired.
This Aztec Casserole is built in layers. Sautéed squash, zucchini and corn become the vegetable layer. Then there is the puréed tomato sauce layer, corn tortilla layer, roasted poblano peppers, cheeses, and chicken layers. Repeated in true casserole style.
Once assembled the casserole is baked for 20 minutes or so until the cheese has melted and the ingredients are heated through. The squash, zucchini and corn are cooked until just crisp-tender maintaining their fresh from the garden flavor. I think that’s what I love most about this dish, well that and the fresh tomato sauce….along with the chicken and cheese. And I can’t forget the tasty surprise of finding layers of corn tortillas nestled amongst all this goodness.
Aztec Casserole is as delicious to eat as it is cookbook-cover delicious to look at. I can’t wait to try more authentic recipes from the regions of Mexico and share them with you.
Farmers Market Aztec Casserole
- 2 Tbl. olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3 large tomatoes about 1 1/2 lbs, peeled and puréed
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbl. butter
- 3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
- 2 cups zucchini diced
- 2 cups summer squash diced
- 1/3 cup water
- oil for frying
- 10 corn tortillas
- 2 poblano chiles roasted, peeled & seeded, cut into strips
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 cups cooked and shredded chicken
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese Monterey Jack, Cheddar cheese or Muenster
- Heat olive oil in a skillet, add the onion and sauté until transparent. Add the garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds. Add the puréed tomatoes and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Set aside.
- Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the zucchini, summer squash and corn and cook for 2 minutes. Add the water; cover and cook for 8 minutes or until the zucchini is crisp-tender. Drain and set aside.
- In a skillet heat 1/2-inch of oil over medium heat. Add the tortillas one at a time and cook about 30 seconds per side. Reserve.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a large casserole dish.
- Place a thin layer of vegetable layer on bottom. Top with a layer of 4-5 tortillas. Then add a layer of tomato sauce. Add half of the remaining vegetables, half of the poblano strips, 1/2 cup of the sour cream in dollops, half of the chicken and 3/4 cup of shredded cheese. Repeat layers finishing with the cheese.
- Bake uncovered until the cheese has melted and the layers are heated through, about 15 – 20 minutes.