Makes 6 servings For the sauce:
- 1 ½ pounds tomatillos
- 1 medium Spanish onion, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/3 cup (loosely packed) mint leaves
- 1 bunch cilantro, stems and all, very roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 jalapeño, cored and seeded
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons, or as needed, fine sea or kosher salt
- 3 cups shredded cooked chicken, turkey, pork, beef or whatever makes you happy
- Ten 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into 2-inch wide strips
- 1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan, manchego or cotijo cheese
Remove the papery covering from the tomatillos and cut out the cores. Cut the tomatillos into 2-inch or so chunks.
Blend the tomatillos at low speed until liquidy. Add the onion and blend until smooth. Add the mint and cilantro and blend until the herbs are finely chopped. Finally, add the jalapeno and garlic and blend until smooth. Pour the liquid into a heavy, medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering.
Cook until the sauce is thickened slightly about 20 minutes. Set aside ½ cup sauce and stir the shredded chicken into the remaining sauce. Add 2 teaspoons salt or salt to taste.
Heat the oven to 350° F. Pour about ¼ inch of vegetable oil into a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Dip a corner of one of the tortilla strips into the oil; when it gives off a lively sizzle the oil is ready. Add as many of the tortilla strips as fit without overlapping to the pan. Fry the tortillas, turning once until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining tortilla strips. Butter a deep (at least 2 ½ inches deep) 9 x 11-inch casserole/baking dish. Make a layer of the fried tortilla strips over the bottom. It doesn’t matter if the layer is perfectly even or not, just be sure to cover the bottom. Spoon half of the sauce and chicken over the tortillas. Top that with 1/3 cup each of the jack and Manchego or Parmesan cheese. Make another layer of the tortillas, sauce and cheeses. Top with another layer of tortillas and spread with the remaining sauce. Top with remaining cheeses.
Bake until the edges of the casserole are bubbling and the top layer of cheese is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.