Jessica Visits Casa Vega, Featured in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' for Margaritas and Enchilada Casserole

California Cooking
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Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks was featured in a scene from the Oscar-nominated film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Writer-director Quentin Tarantino is a fan of the restaurant and is a frequent customer, Christy Vega said.

A movie hadn’t been filmed inside the restaurant since the 70s, but they made an exception for Tarantino. Christy was even asked to play the hostess in the scene that features Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.

After production on the movie wrapped, Christy and Tarantino exchanged margarita recipes. Christy liked the director’s margarita so much that she decided to add “The Tarantino” to the Casa Vega menu, which Jessica gave a thumbs up. Christy also taught Jessica how to make an enchilada casserole with homemade sauce.

This segment aired on California Cooking With Jessica Holmes Episode 57.

Casa Vega/Christy Vega’s Chicken Enchilada Casserole  

Serves 2 to 4

Ingredients for salsa roja

  •  ½ cup of canola oil
  •  ½ cup of flour
  • 2 tablespoons of chili paste
  • 1 cup cold of water, divided
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth, more if desired
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken base
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

Instructions for salsa roja

  1. In a large sauté pan or skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour and bring the mixture to a simmer, then whisk in the chili paste. Slowly whisk in ½ cup of the cold water, followed by the chicken broth. Whisk in the chicken base, cumin, garlic powder and remaining water, then remove from heat.
  2. Pour the mixture into a sauce pan and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook the sauce for about 10 minutes to marry the flavors, adding additional broth to thin, if desired. This makes about 1½ cups salsa roja. Keep the sauce warm while assembling the enchiladas.

Ingredients for chicken enchiladas

  •  Canola oil, for warming the tortillas
  • 4 corn tortillas
  • ½ pound of shredded cooked chicken, warmed
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese, more as desired
  • Prepared salsa roja, warmed

Instructions for chicken enchiladas

  1. Heat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Heat a thin layer of canola oil in a large skillet. Add the tortillas, one at a time, carefully warming them on each side so they are pliable but not crispy.
  3. After each tortilla is warmed, assemble an enchilada: lay the tortilla flat on an oven-proof plate or baking dish and add a small handful of chicken, then shredded cheese, in the center. Top with a little salsa roja, then wrap the tortilla tightly. Repeat with the remaining tortillas, rolling the enchiladas tightly against each other.
  4. Top the assembled enchiladas with additional salsa roja and cheese. Place the plate in the oven until the cheese is melted and the enchiladas are warmed through, about 5 minutes. Carefully remove the hot plate and serve immediately.
  5. To make chili paste, submerge 2 each dried pasilla and California chiles in a small bowl of boiling water until softened, about 10 minutes. Stem the chilies, then puree, with ¼ cup of the reserved soaking water (or as needed), to form a paste.

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