mexican monday & remake: tortilla pie!

There are meals in life that make forever-lasting impressions. Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the wine. Maybe it’s the setting, the specific time in your life, or the person/people you are with. Maybe it’s multiple factors. Maybe it’s the whole experience, and you can’t quite pinpoint what the reason is…

I had one of those dinners with Chris in December of 2010. It was Christmas season, and we were having a more glamorous date night at the National Harbor. I was working my dream job at the time, but the high expectations were killing me, and so Chris & I especially treasured these evenings that we would set apart just for each other. We were about to get married! March was fast-approaching. And there at the harbor, Christmas lights were everywhere… especially all over the enormous tree by the water. We waited for a gap to form in front of the branches, and when it did, we took a smiling photo in front of strangers. What a beautiful evening.

And then we went to Rosa Mexicano! As if the night was not magical enough, I devoured (half of) a truly life-changing tortilla pie. To this day, I still think about that Budin de Pollo, described on the menu as “baked soft tortillas filled with pulled chicken, chihuahua cheese, and roasted Mexican peppers, served with poblano pepper cream sauce.” Oh my goodness.

Naturally, I had to try to recreate it. I didn’t find many enticing tortilla pie recipes, so I put together one of my own. I did look closely at a roasted red pepper sauce recipe, but made a few changes. Next time, I want to try a more spicy Mexican pepper sauce. I added so many spices to this sauce before serving! Roasted red peppers were just too sweet and weak for my intended result. :)

Here is the recipe though. Enjoy!!

Chicken Tortilla Pie with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce

Instructions for the Red Pepper Sauce:
I used this recipe, but chose cilantro instead of basil. To save time, I made the sauce the day prior, and also used jarred roasted red peppers instead of roasting them myself. As I mentioned before, I added a lot of cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes, because the sauce turned out a bit too sweet for me!

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Instructions for the Pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 3 flour tortillas for 5 minutes. Adjust the heat to 375 degrees F.
  2. Meanwhile, grate a block of cheddar or monterey jack cheese (or both).
  3. Use a food processor to shred and mince cooked chicken, a jalapeño, half of an onion or so, half of a red bell pepper, and a few pinches of Spanish smoked paprika. Mix it all together, and heat on low in a skillet over the stove.
  4. For the next mixture, use a spoon to combine pureed black beans (my can included jalapeños!), taco mix, cilantro, salsa verde, and green onions.
  5. Apply cooking spray to a pan, pie plate, or in my case, quiche dish.
  6. Set down the first tortilla, and add: bean mixture, chicken mixture, then cheese.
  7. Add the next tortilla, and repeat.
  8. Cover with the final tortilla. Spray the pie with some more cooking spray, then grind some fresh sea salt (maybe Trader Joe’s sea salt with chili pepper!) over the whole thing.
  9. Cover with foil, and bake for about 25-30 minutes. Remove foil at the end if you’d like the edges to crust a bit more.
  10. Serve with pepper sauce on top! Along with guacamole, sour cream, and/or salsa if you’d like even MORE flavor!

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As you might have gathered from reading this recipe, there is a LOT going on here. To be honest, the pie was heavenly; however, there were so many flavors that I don’t think it’s necessary to include every single one of these ingredients. I would recommend leaving out one or two of the following: chicken, beans, or sauce. If you leave off the sauce, it’s a little easier to add some classic Mexican additions like guacamole, sour cream, or salsa!

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I still want to go back to Rosa, and order that pie all over again. But in the meantime, this will be a great version to hold me over. :)

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