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Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style

July 15, 2011

Our recent trip to Chicago made me think of our meal at Bayless’ Frontera Grill last year and was the perfect reminder that it was about time to try out one of his recipes that I’ve had bookmarked and forgotten about.  I’ve made and tasted my fair share of enchiladas, but this version is completely different from any other.  The roux-based sauce was the star here and was basically a white sauce flavored with the subtle heat of fresh poblanos.  It was so thick it covered the otherwise simple enchiladas in a blanket of the creamiest, richest, and most decadent sauce ever.  And thanks to the toasting of the corn tortillas pre-assembly the individual rolls held their shape and helped make this a pretty dish as well–a nice little added plus.

Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style 

from Rick Bayless

  • 2 fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) roughly chopped spinach leaves
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter—or you can use vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • A little vegetable oil for brushing or spraying
  • About 1 cup Mexican melting cheese (I used Chihuahua) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
  • A little chopped cilantro for garnish
1) Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly, until the skins have blistered and blackened on all side, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes under the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and, when handleable, rub off the blackened skin, tear open and pull out the seed pod and stem. Quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds or bits of skin. Roughly chop and put in a blender jar.  Add the spinach.

2) In a medium (3-quart) saucepan, combine the milk and broth, set over medium-low heat to warm.

3) In a large (4-quart) saucepan, melt the butter (or heat the oil) over medium.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute to release its aroma, then add the flour and stir the mixture for a minute.  Raise the heat to medium-high.  Pour in the warm broth mixture and whisk constantly until the sauce boils.  Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat.

4) Pour half the hot sauce into the blender with the chiles and spinach.  Cover loosely and blend until smooth.  Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce.  Taste and season with salt, usually about 2 teaspoons.

5) Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13×9-inch baking dish.  Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the chicken.

6) Lay half of the tortillas out on a baking sheet and lightly brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil; top each tortilla with another one and brush or spray those with oil.  Bake just to warm through and soften, about 3 minutes.  Stack the tortillas and cover with a towel to keep warm.

7) Working quickly so that the tortillas stay hot and pliable, roll a portion of the chicken up in each tortilla, then line them all up in the baking dish(es).  Douse evenly with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the cheese.

8 ) Bake until the enchiladas are hot through (the cheese will have begun to brown), about 20 minutes.  Garnish with the cilantro and serve without hesitation.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 21, 2011 1:07 pm

    This looks really good! I can’t wait to try that sauce–the poblanos and spinach give the sauce a really nice color. I love spinach, so I might even put extra spinach inside the enchiladas.

    Thanks for the recipe!

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