Tortilla Casserole with Turkey

The best American name for this vegetable would probably be “Mexican green tomato”, but they actually taste nothing like regular tomatoes, In fact, the tomatillo is not a tomato at all. The tomatillo has a tart, lemony flavor that is enhance when cooked (especially roasted) and is an excellent base for salsas. While salsa (salsa verde) is the most popular way to enjoy tomatillo, they can be used in other ways. Tomatillos contain high amounts of vitamin A&C. Tomatillos are our #2 sales item!

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3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp corn oil
18 corn tortillas
3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
3 medium chayote or other squash, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
2 cups green beans, steamed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 to 3 cups leftover turkey, shredded
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Monterey Jack or panela cheese
6 cups Salsa de Tomatillo (recipe follows)
2 cups sour cream
1 Tbsp milk
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste

For the Salsa de Tomatillo:
60 tomatillos, husked and rinsed (about 3 lbs)
8 serrano chiles (seeded and deveined for a milder dish)
4 cups water
5 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Sea salt to taste


Prepare the Salsa de Tomatillo: In a heavy, 6-quart, nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the tomatillos, chiles, and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the tomatillos are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/2 to 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Working in batches, combine tomatillos, chiles, reserved cooking liquid, garlic, and cilantro in a blender and blend to a smooth puree. In a heavy, 12-inch, deep-sided skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and cook the tomatillo mixture for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Add salt to taste.

Prepare the casserole. IN a heavy, 10-inch skillet, heat 3/4 cup of the corn oil over medium heat until the oil shimmers. Using tongs, submerge the tortillas, one at a time, in the hot oil for about 10 seconds (the tortillas should remain pliable). Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Lightly oil a 13X9 inch baking dish and set aside. In a heavy, 12-inch, non-stick skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add both kinds of squash and cook over medium heat about 5 minutes. Add the corn and green beans and cook until just tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 375°. Arrange 6 of the softened tortillas in the prepared baking dish, overlapping the edges. Cover with half of the shredded turkey, half of the vegetable mixture, 1 cup of the cheese, 1 cup of the salsa de tomatillo, and 3/4 cup of the sour cream. Repeat the layering process with 6 additional tortillas, the remaining turkey, vegetable mixture, and cheese, 1 cup of the salsa de tomatillo, and 3/4 cup of the sour cream. Top with the remaining 6 tortillas. Drizzle with 1 cup of the salsa de tomatillo, cover with foil, and bake in a preheated oven for about 50 minutes, or until heated through.

During the last few minutes of the cooking time, heat the remaining 3 cups of salsa de tomatillo over low heat and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/2 cup of sour cream and the milk. Drizzle over the hot casserole when it comes out of the oven. Serve the hot casserole with the hot salsa de tomatillo on the side.

Serves 8.

By Tom Gilliland, Miguel Ravago, and Virginia B. Wood