My collection has, over the years, taken over Craig's teak bookcase. (I don't think he's too amused by that.)
Today, is an exception, because it's time to add a Rick Bayless Cookbook to my carefully chosen collection. I love Mexican food (no surprise, given my father's heritage) and this recipe was outstanding-- and different than the more traditional red enchiladas. Thanks to Kim at "Stirring the Pot", she has been cooking, and sharing Rick Bayless recipes for the last five months-- and I have been drooling over all of them. This particular recipe caught my attention, because Kim says, "This recipe, for Cafe Tacuba-Style Creamy Chicken Enchiladas, is hands down my favorite Rick Bayless recipe from the whole five month period." Now, that's a good recommendation!
Chicken-& Cheddar Stuffed Poblano Peppers.
The chicken shreds easily. So, now for the sauce...
Rough chop a "bunch" of fresh spinach...
...and the Poblanos
Add the chicken broth to 2 cups whole milk and heat.
Add three minced garlic cloves to 6 tablespoons melted butter and cook long enough to release the aroma. Add some flour and cook for a minute or two.
Whisk the milk & chicken broth in, slowly, until thickened.
The finishing touches for the sauce: I love cilantro, so I decided to add about a cup of roughly chopped cilantro with the chopped spinach and peppers. Pour half the milk mixture into a blender (or a food processor) and blend it together.
Pour the mixture back with the remaining milk mixture.
Give the sauce a taste, and season with salt, to your liking.
I ended up with six cups of sauce. I felt as though I wanted a little something "more" for flavor.
Lime. That's it! I added about 1/2 lime. There!
To assemble the enchiladas, I poured enough sauce to coat the bottom of my baking dish.
Then, added a little sauce to the shredded chicken. I took the easy way (just like Kim) and didn't roll individual enchiladas. I went casserole style. So, I evenly layered the chicken, added soft corn tortillas to cover and completed the casserole with freshly grated Monterey Jack Cheese.
HINDSIGHT: I should have dipped the tortillas into the sauce, before layering them, which would have softened them even more. Plus, I wish I had used 8 chicken thighs, instead of four. So, I didn't use all of the sauce, and froze the remaining 2 cups of sauce for another time.
Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, until bubbling and just turning golden brown. Let sit for at least 10 minutes before serving.
TASTING NOTES: The flavor of the sauce is very mild and lovely. The poblanos have such a gentle heat to them, and while I used three (instead of two), it was not overpowering. You can't really distinguish the spinach, and it sort of made me think the sauce was healthy. I guess it is, in a way, if you don't think about all the cheese. MMMMmmmm. Because I chose to cook my own chicken, and use the broth, I spent more time than it would take if you use Rotisserie chicken. I just never buy one of those, at my grocery store, because of my fool-proof roast chicken recipe. I digress. I would make this again, and I think it would be a fun texture for me to add corn kernels, and cooked onion, to the mix.
These tasted even better the next day. All of the flavors really had a chance to blend together. I think, next time, I'd make the sauce a day ahead of time. Then it would be quick to put together the next day.
Thanks, Kim, for sharing this recipe.A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.