Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style

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Last night I had a dream about being on Top Chef. I’m definitely not cut out for competing, but I’m always ready to eat lots of food and judge it. I like regular Top Chef, but I definitely prefer Top Chef Masters. It’s so inspiring to see such culinary icons whipping up plate after plate of mouthwatering food and the often odd circumstances they have to do it in. Who can forget Hubert Keller rinsing pasta in the shower of a college dorm? That’s some good TV, although I know I’m not too enthusiastic eating something prepared in a college dorm bathroom.

Besides Hubert Keller, Rick Bayless is my favorite Top Chef Master.  His food all sounded divine and he seemed like a good guy. Until the day that I’m fortunate enough to dine at one of his restaurants I’ll take satisfaction in cooking his recipes at home (he has a ton of cookbooks and great recipes on his website).

The most recent time I made this particular recipe, a creamy enchilada with a mild heat, I used turkey since I had a ton leftover from Thanksgiving, but the original recipe calls for chicken and is equally delicious. I also went out on a limb and used arugula instead of spinach and I really enjoyed the peppery bite arugula has but feel free to use whatever is most convenient.

Best of all, this recipe freezes really well if you want to make it ahead (or are trying to use up leftover meat)!

Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style

Barely adapted from Rick Bayless

  • 2 fresh poblano chiles
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) roughly chopped arugula (or spinach)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) butter
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely minced
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspons Salt
plus more to taste
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (perfect way to use up leftover chicken or turkey)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • About 1 cup cheese (Monterey Jack or a white cheddar are ideal)
  • A little chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Roast the poblanos on a baking sheet a few inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly, until the skins have blistered and blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes (conversely you could do this on a gas range, directly over the flame, turning frequently for roughly 5 minutes). Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for a few minutes (the steam makes the skin easier to remove). Once slightly cooled, peel off the blackened skin, slice open, and remove the ribs and seeds of the pepper. If you want less heat, lightly rinse. Roughly chop and put in a food processor or blender.  Add the arugula.

In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and broth, set over medium-low heat and let warm.

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute to release its aroma, then add the flour and stir the mixture for a few minutes to cook off the raw flour taste.  Pour in the warm broth mixture and salt and whisk constantly until the sauce thickens, roughly 8 minutes (it should coat the back of a spoon).  Remove from the heat.

Pour 1/3 to 1/2 the hot sauce into the food processor with the poblanos and arugula and pulse until smooth (be careful if using a blender, hot things in blenders tend to explode). Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce.  Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Pour approximately 1 cup of sauce into a 3 quart casserole dish. Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the chicken.

Warm and soften tortillas (you can do this two different ways):

  1. Spread tortillas on a plate, loosely cover with a wet paper towel, and tightly cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 45 seconds or until tortillas are warm and softened. OR
  2. 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.

Working quickly so that the tortillas stay hot and pliable, roll a portion of the chicken mixture up in each tortilla, then line them all up in the baking dish. Cover (evenly) with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese has begun to brown.  Garnish with cilantro (if desired) and serve immediately. Great served with Mexican rice and smashed black beans.

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  1. Cheesy Bacon Taquitos «Dizzy Busy and Hungry! - December 4, 2013

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