Monday, August 2, 2010

Mexican Lasagna and Creamy Saffron Rice

My friend Kiki and her husband Lynn (happy birthday Lynn!) are enjoying a week of vacation with her sister Lisa's family at the lake. I have to admit I'm more than a little jealous. Still, when Kiki wrote to ask me for my recipe for Mexican Lasagna I was happy to comply. Its an extremely comforting dish, perfect to make ahead of time, then spend the entire day on the lake with a cooler of beer and margaritas and still be able to stumble home at suppertime for something cheesy and yummy.
This dish was originally my recipe (via my friend Bethany Pluymers) for chicken enchiladas, but making enchiladas was too much of a hassle and a number of years ago I thought, "what the hell, I'm going to make this lasagna style". I loved the result... it still had all the flavor of the original, but could be assembled in 30 minutes, refrigerated and baked just before dinner.
In honor of my friends I am posting the recipe here today... sorry no pics since I am not making it today, but maybe Kiki will send some photos from the lake.

Mama Ozzy's Mexican Lasagna
(serves 8 hungry people)
1 pack of soft corn tortillas (about 12)
1 rotisserie chicken, meat removed and chopped (reserve carcass for chicken stock for another dish)
1 lb Monterrey Jack Cheese shredded
1 lb sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
2 cups sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground Cumin
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 medium onion finely diced
2 green jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt and pepper
Creamy tomato salsa
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion chopped
2 jalapenos peppers seeded and chopped (optional)
1 can peeled crushed tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup chopped Cilantro.
In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients and mix with your hands until well-blended. In a 9x13 baking pan, put down one layer of tortillas, overlapping as necessary. Top with ½ of filling. Put down a second layer of tortillas, and top with remainder of filling. Top with third layer of tortillas.
Prepare cream salsa: In a large skillet saute onions and jalapenos (if using) in olive oil until onion is soft. Add canned tomatoes and lime juice, bring to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes to reduce some liquid. Add cream and return to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Pour salsa carefully over lasagna.
At this point the lasagna can be covered with aluminum foil and refrigerated. When you are ready to bake, just remove the foil from the top of the pan and bake at 350 until bubbly (30-45 minutes).
I like to serve this with Creamy Saffron Rice and ice-cold mexican beer.

This is a variation from my friend Kiki.  Rather than starting with a rotisserie chicken, place 2lbs of uncooked chicken (I prefer thigh meat) in a pressure cooker, season with 1 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1/2 tsp salt.  Add 12 oz. India Pale Ale beer and 1/2 cup water.   Pressure cook for 30 minutes, cool and shred chicken.  Absolutely Delicious!
Creamy Saffron Rice
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups long grain rice
1 tsp salt
large pinch of Saffron threads
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
4 green onions, chopped
In a medium saucepot combine chicken stock, rice, salt, saffron, honey, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling stir rice, cover with a lid, and remove from heat. Allow rice to steam for 30 minutes. Once rice is tender, stir in 1 cup sour cream and green onions. Season with salt and pepper.


  1. Oh my God this sounds wonderful. I'm pdf-ing this for later. Happy Birthday Lynn!

  2. All of your Latin-inspired recipes are making me crave your chicken posole. I'd love that recipe soon, if you don't mind?