Photo by Santiago Gomez de la Fuente

Budín Azteca (Mexican Lasagna)

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 8 people
Some say el Budín Azteca resembles a lasagna, except it is made with Mexican ingredients. Others call it a Mexican Chicken Pie. Homey and fun to prepare, it's a winner all around.

Among many other amazing traditions, we Mexicans have this exquisite recipe inherited from many generations - a dish that originated with the Aztecs. The budín azteca, is actually better known as Pastel de Moctezuma or Mexican Lasagna. However, I realize that name may be a bit off-putting given that a traveler's ailment has colloquially been named after Moctezuma, better known as Moctezuma's revenge. 

Moctezuma was an Aztec ruler defeated by the Spanish conquistadores. Many people vaguely relate it to the last emperor of the Aztecs, which is inaccurate, but that is his claim to fame.

Moctezuma was known for hosting gigantic feats, with hundreds of different dishes. He left behind many things, one of them being this delicious recipe.


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  1. Cook the chicken on simmer with water, garlic, onion, bay leaf and salt until done, for about 15 minutes. Remove chicken from water and reserve. Once it is cool enough to handle, shred into bite-size pieces.
  2. Mix yogurt, heavy cream and salt to taste. Reserve.
  3. Husk and wash tomatillos. Blend in a food processor with garlic, onion, cilantro, jalapeño and salt.
  4. Brown the sliced onions in oil over medium heat. Add tomatillo salsa and simmer until bubbling. Set aside.
  5. Heat 2 cups vegetable oil in a deep skillet until almost smoking. With long-handled tongs, drop tortillas in oil one at a time and pull right out. Drain on paper towels.
  6. Oil a large baking dish and place in a layer of tortillas, covering with the salsa, until they are 1/3 covered. Then, add a layer of chiles, cream, cheese and half the chicken. Add another layer of tortillas and repeat. Top with remaining tortillas, peppers, cheese and cream.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for one hour or until the cheese is melted and starts to brown.
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