|Mexican Mole Pie|
I first came across this Mexican dish about 10 years ago. I was visiting my friend Sandra and she offer me a slice of what she called 'Pastel Azteca' (or Aztec Cake). Hers was different, she was using a green tomatillo sauce and heavy cheddar cheese. I was fascinated by the concept and I fell in love with it and did some research of my own. I came across loads of different versions of it: some with mole, some with red salsa, some with green salsa, some with dried chilies, some with poblano peppers, etc. Since I absolutely love Mexican Mole and it is now easily available in Ireland through our shop, I decided to do some experimenting with the recipe using that flavour for the blog.
I had to do this four times: the first few times I did it, the flavour was perfect (no surprise there as mole and chicken is a classic combination), but the texture was all wrong: first too soggy, then too dry. I was also using a lasagne dish, which is rectangular, but was making my layers with round tortillas, which made the whole thing more complicated than it should be; I was also cooking the tortillas in oil before placing them in the dish, which added unnecessary moisture. Eventually, I got it right: I switched to a pie dish, changed drastically the method I was using with the tortillas (thanks to Sandra my friend who suggested to do that) and I experimented with the ingredients a bit. I was left with the perfect Mole Pie, not exactly what we would called Aztec Cake, but just as delicious, plus having experimented with it quite a few times, I feel this is really a pie as suppose to a cake. In any case, hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Note: I found that this pie is best eaten on the day you cook it. You can prepare it a day in advance, but don't cook it until you're ready to eat it. I reheated leftovers in the microwave and the tortillas went too crispy and rubbery for my liking. If you make the pie in advance, cover it with clean film and refrigerate overnight, but make sure to bring the pie to room temperature before you put it in the oven, or adjust your cooking times accordingly, there's nothing worse than a dish which is hot in the outside and cold in the middle!
Since I wanted this recipe to be a quick dinner choice, I used the Ready Made Mole Sauce we sell in the shop, but you can make it from scratch following my recipe here or make the sauce from the Red Mole Paste we stock, it's your choice entirely.
Mexican Mole Pie
(Serves 4 hungry tummies)
3 Chicken breasts, about 500 grams in total
1 garlic clove, peeled and squashed a bit with the back of the knife (this helps release flavour)
1 fresh bay leaf, washed and thorn a little (to release flavour too)
Salt to taste
540 grams of Mexican Mole Sauce, I used this ready made Mole Sauce
15 Corn Tortillas, you can buy them here
1 onion, thickly sliced (about 60 grams)
110 grams of fresh Feta Cheese, mine was from the fabulous Real Olive Company
1 tbs of Sesame seeds
1 cup of Greek Style Yoghurt, I love the Glenisk one
You will need a 22 cm pie dish for this
A non-stick pan to heat your tortillas
Onto the Cooking:
1.- Put the chicken breasts in a pot with the garlic, the bay leaf and cover them with water. Turn on the heat and bring them to boil. Let them simmer partially covered for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked. TIP: you can make this recipe with leftover chicken from your Sunday roast, just shred it finely and skip this step.
2.- When the chicken is ready, take it out of the water and shred it finely into a plate or bowl. Set it near the pie dish with all other ingredients. I find having all the pie ingredients handy will help you when assembling the pie: pour the mole sauce into a jug, slice your onions into a plate, crumble the feta cheese into a bowl, have the sesame seeds and the yoghurt in bowls with spoons all near the pie dish.
3.- Heat the oven at 180 degrees
4.- Heat your tortillas in a non-stick pan completely dry. You want the corn tortillas to be flexible. So heat them about 30 seconds on each side and wrap them in a thick tea towel to keep them warm.
5.- Now we can start assembling the pie. Pour some of the mole sauce, about 4 tablespoons, on the bottom of your pie dish.
6.- Take four warm corn tortillas and place them directly on top of the sauce in a fan-like formation, overlapping each of the tortillas a bit. See the pictures here to show you how.
7.- Top the tortillas with a layer of shredded chicken, then add some onions.
8.- Drizzle a generous amount of mole sauce over the chicken and onion layer. Remember to be generous but not to use all the mole in one single layer, as a rule of thumb, I use a third of the mix in each layer.
9.- Crumble some feta cheese on top of the mole, followed by a sprinkle of sesame seeds and crowned it all up with a few dollops of yoghurt.
10.- Repeat steps 5 to 9 two more times making sure to gently pressed the layer of corn tortillas every time. this will compact the pie layer beneath and make a bit more room for the rest of the layers to follow. If you are making this a day or a few hours in advance, you can cover the pie with clean film at this stage and refrigerated until ready to cook.
11.- Place your pie in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes uncovered.
The Mexican Mole Pie is ready! Serve it hot with a salad and a side of refried beans like these smoky chipotle flavour ones from the shop or make your own using my recipe here. It's absolutely gorgeous!