Spinach and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas
My husband and I love Mexican food. We were inspired by our culinary passions to even take our honeymoon to a small fishing village in Mexico called Zihuatanejo. There we took a cooking class and learned how to make tamales for the first time. Ever since we got back we have been experimenting with lots of different recipes. We fell in love with the cooking of Rick Bayless. We would oogle over his cooking show and scroll through his recipes to see which ones we could possible make. We came across one, Enchiladas Especiales Tubaca Style which is what this recipe is adapted from. This is one of our favorites because it is relatively easy to make, the ingredients are readily available, and its a crowd pleaser.
I would start out by getting all your ingredients out to ensure that you are not forgetting anything and can try to stay organized. Start by roasting the poblanos if you haven't already. I use my toaster oven on broil for mine (you will find that I use my toaster oven a lot). Once they get a nice blacken on the skin, take them out and put them in a small bowl and cover with a towel until they are not hot to the touch. Rinse off all the skin. Your kitchen will smell pretty amazing by this point.
Also when it comes to chicken, I suggest using a rotisserie chicken. Unless you have left over chicken from another meal, this is the easiest and tastiest way to prepare. Next work on the roux. Make sure to watch your heat here as it can burn easily. Also when make the base of the sauce I add more liquid than the original recipe. I also keep my sauce a little on the runnier side because i know it will thicken up in cooking as well. I sneak in 2 cups of spinach instead of just one in the blender. No one can really taste the spinach, and it makes it have a more vibrant green color. When adding some of the base sause into the blender, just add enough so it can blend well. With all the heat, too much sauce could cause quite a big mess.
It is really fun making the individual enchiladas and a great way to get your kids involved. Here I also add a little slice of poblano in the enchilada. Again, this is optional, but a fun way to add a different texture to it. Use your own preference when it comes to cheese. Because there is a lot of sauce already, it doesn't really need much, which also helps out on the calories. After baking, top with cilantro if you would like.
The kids love it too!
2 cups (at least) roughly chopped spinach leaves
2 1/4 cups milk
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
6tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, or you can use vegetable oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup flour
3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (I usually use a rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken)
16 + corn tortillas (I like white corn)
A little vegetable oil for brushing or spraying
About 2 cups Mexican melting cheese. I use Mexican cheese in the enchiladas, and Monterey jack for the top
Alittle chopped cilantro, for garnish
Make the sauce. 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. I personally use a toaster oven for this step. Once roasted, 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 2 of the poblanos and put them in the blender. Since the remaining 2 and keep on the side. Add the spinach to blender.
In a medium (3-quart) saucepan, combine the milk and broth, set over medium-low heat to warm.
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 if needed to thicken. Remove from the heat.
Pour a quarter of the hot sauce into the blender with the chiles and spinach. Cover loosely, as to not have pressure buildup from the heat and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1.5 teaspoons.
Finish the enchiladas. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Smear about 1/4 cup of the sauce over the bottom of each of four to six 9-inch individual ovenproof baking/serving dishes or smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the chicken. Add one cup of the mexican cheese to the shredded chicken.
To warm the tortillas, I cover a baking sheet with tin foil and spray it down with olive oil or cooking spray. I lay out the tortillas on the baking sheet and bake just to warm through and soften, about 3 minutes. Stack the tortillas and cover with a towel or wrap in tin foil to keep them warm.
Working quickly so that the tortillas stay hot and pliable, roll a portion of the chicken up in each tortilla along with strips of poblanos, then line them all up in the baking dish(es). Douse evenly with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the remaining cup of monterey jack cheese. Bake until the enchiladas are hot through (the cheese will have begun to brown), about 20 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro and enjoy!