A San Diego Memory

2013-10-04T10:45:00Z 2013-10-07T11:12:12Z A San Diego MemoryJane Dunne nwitimes.com
October 04, 2013 10:45 am  • 

Late September weather along the Lake Michigan Shore has been glorious - literally strings of cloudless, sunshiny days with highs in the mid to high 70's. The deep blue skies look like those one sees in California, and I have a yen for Mexican food shared on a beach at sunset, a light sweater over the shoulders and an ice-cold Margarita in the hand. I remember such an evening with good friends once in San Diego. To temper my nostalgia, I make a big pan of enchilladas and invite a few amigos. No beach, but a great view of Chicago's Lincoln Park!

A travel tip: When in the San Diego area, stay at Rancho Bernardo and you will thank me.


Use your favorite enchilada sauce from the Mexican section of your market. This savory dish is great with a vegetable salad and cold beer.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium-size yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice

Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste

1-1/4-pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and shredded

1-3/4 cups red enchilada sauce

9 corn tortillas, each about 6 inches in diameter

3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup shredded white cheddar cheese

3/4 cup shredded yellow cheddar cheese

Sliced green onion tops for garnish

Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, 6 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool at room temperature.

Add the shredded chicken to the onion and stir well to combine.

Spread 1/4 cup of the enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 3-1/2-quart deep baking dish (round is best). Arrange 3 tortillas in a single layer on the sauce, overlapping them as needed to cover the sauce. Top with a generous cup of the chicken-onion mixture, 1/2 cup more sauce and 1/4 cup of each of the cheeses. Repeat the layering 2 more times, alternating the direction of the tortilla layers and finishing with 1/2 cup sauce and 1/4 cup of each cheese.

Transfer the dish to the oven and bake until the ingredients are heated through and the cheese is melted, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with green onions and cilantro, and serve immediately.


(6 servings)

1 cup corn kernels (frozen is fine)

6 cups arugula leaves

1/2 cup cooked black beans

Adobo Vinaigrette:

1/3 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon adobo sauce from a jar of chipotles in adobo

Salt and pepper, to taste

Thaw the corn kernels, then sauté in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat until golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Place arugula in a salad bowl. Add the corn and toss. Add the black beans and the Adobo Vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss well and serve immediately.

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