Montezuma Pie

Last week Tom made Montezuma pie and it was delicious. I wish I had taken a photo of it to show you, but I was too interested in eating it to focus on anything else.

The first time we made Montezuma pie was in the modest house on Verbena Street in Denver in the early 1980s. It was a modest house, but we had an extravagant garden. For example, I had sugar snap peas and roma beans growing on fences everywhere. Also, the garden included four established rhubarb plants. We had pie (I used the Joy of Cooking recipe), coffee cake (I used the recipe from the same cookbook we got the Montezuma pie recipe, the name of which I forget), canned rhubarb, and rhubarb jam. I think this was where I first grew Anaheim peppers and it was definitely the first time I grew cilantro. It grew waist-high and I didn’t even like it much then. I can’t remember whether I grew the tomatillos for the dish..

Reasons I am writing about Montezuma pie (in order from least important to most important):

    –Readers seem to like it when I include recipes in the blog.

–It’s August–hot and dry where I am in Boise, and, I hear from my sources, unusually cool in the East–but it is harvest time nonetheless.

–Eating the dish last week reminded me of happy times when the children were young (well, we all were) and of gardens I have loved.

I hope you enjoy the dish, which also tastes good without the chicken. Happy August.

Montezuma Pie

Ingredients

  • 3 split chicken breasts, cooked, skinned, boned and shredded, and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, sliced and cooked in oil until soft and seasoned with salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 Anaheim chiles, roasted and peeled and sliced into strips, then salted to taste
  • Tomatillo sauce–cook one pound of tomatillos, one diced onion, 6 garlic cloves, and one diced serrano or jalapeño in water just to cover, until soft. Pulse or mash entire cooked mixture including liquid until chunky-smooth. Add enough liquid (water or chicken broth to make one quart total.   Add one half bunch chopped cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.
  • 1 pound grated cheese–Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or whatever you want
  • 1 pint Greek yogurt, sour cream, or crema Mexicana
  • 1 dozen corn tortillas

Process

In a suitable casserole dish (non-aluminum, a glass 9 by 13 baking dish works well) place one third of the tomatillo sauce.   Place 6 tortillas over that, evenly.   Put one half of the onions, Anaheims, and chicken evenly over the tortillas. Place one third of the tomatillo sauce evenly over that.   Place one half of the cheese and yogurt evenly over that. Repeat with remaining tortillas, onions, Anaheims, chicken, tomatillo sauce, cheese and yogurt.   Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until done, with cheese bubbling and brown, about 45 minutes to one hour.

 

 

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