Saturday, March 26, 2011

#21 - Enchiladas Especiales del Café de Tacuba

Since we already know how to make rice and beans, and we wanted practice, we were looking for a new Mexican recipe to go with our sides.

We really like Rick Bayless after watching him win the first season of Top Chef Masters, and we know he makes good Mexican food, so we looked him up online to see if we could find any good ideas for dinner. has to be the best Mexican cooking resource online because he has posted like a million recipes on the site.

We found this one, and we decided to try it out.

Enchiladas Especiales del Café de Tacuba

Adapted from Rick Bayless
There are a lot of ingredients for this recipe. Most you should be able to find at your local grocery store, but since a big portion of this recipe are the chili peppers, we really wanted to make sure that we got those right, and we had to go to Whole Foods to find some nice poblano peppers. While at Whole Foods, we saw something that wasn't in the recipe, but that we thought would go well with the meal, so we bought some Cotija cheese to garnish with when we were finished.
An interesting part of this meal is that the sauce is kind of a Mexican Béchamel. If you choose to try this recipe, don't be surprised when, like any good Béchamel, the sauce gets really thick.
We don't have a gas range, so we couldn't roast the peppers on a flame and had to use the broiler. It ended up working out just as well, as the roasted poblanos had a lot of flavor.
As you know, we watch a lot of cooking shows, and we were super excited when this Rick Bayless recipe said to take out the top bit of the blender and cover it with a towel. It just made us feel like we should be in Kitchen Stadium or something.
Even though the recipe works just as well with store-bought tortillas, we have a tortilla press, we have Maseca, and so it's pretty simple making homemade tortillas. And they're tasty.
Wow. These enchiladas were really good. Now we know why he was named Top Chef Master. This was the first Rick Bayless recipe we've tried, but it will definitely not be the last.

The sauce was super creamy and you could really taste the roasted poblanos with the rotisserie chicken. The Cotija cheese we put on top gave a nice little salty kick to the end too.

And the best part? We have lots of leftovers for the workweek!
If you're not going to Mexico City anytime soon, follow these steps.

  • 2 fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) roughly chopped spinach leaves
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 Tbs butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 cups rotisserie chicken, coarsely shredded
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil (if not using fresh tortillas)
  • 1 cup Mexican melting cheese (cheddar, jack, or mix)
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Cotija cheese or queso fresco
  1. Roast the poblanos by placing directly over a gas flame or by placing on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler. Turn regularly until the skins have blistered and blackened on all sides, about 5 minutes for an open flame or about 10 minutes under the broiler.
  2. Place poblanos in a bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. When cooled, rub off the blackened skin, open, and remove seeds. Quickly rinse to remove any remaining seeds.
  3. Roughly chop the poblanos, and put in a blender jar with the spinach.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and chicken broth over medium-low heat to warm.
  5. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
  6. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, and then add the flour and stir the mixture for one minute.
  7. Raise the heat to medium-high, pour in the warm broth mixture, and whisk constantly until the sauce boils.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  9. Pour half of the sauce into the blender with the poblanos and spinach.
  10. Cover loosely by removing the center part of the lid and covering with a cloth, and blend until smooth.
  11. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce. Taste and season with salt.
  12. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  13. Smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish.
  14. Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the chicken and toss.
  15. If using fresh tortillas, make and cook now.
  16. If using cold tortillas, lay half of them out on a baking sheet and lightly brush both sides of the tortillas with oil; top each tortilla with another one and brush those with oil. Bake just to warm through and soften, about 3 minutes.
  17. Stack the tortillas and cover with a towel to keep warm.
  18. Working quickly so that the tortillas stay hot and pliable, roll a some sauced chicken up in each tortilla, and line them up in the baking dish, seam-side down.
  19. Spread the remaining sauce on top of the rolled tortillas and sprinkle with the melting cheese.
  20. Bake until the enchiladas are hot through and the cheese has begun to brown, about 20 minutes.
  21. Garnish with the cilantro and Cotija cheese.

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