Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style


This is a really cool recipe.

It uses spinach and poblano chiles to make a creamy green sauce for some enchiladas.

It's easy to throw together if you have some leftover chicken or just use a rotisserie from the store. That's what I did!

Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style
(from Rick Bayless, here)

2 fresh poblano or pasilla 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 (a rotisserie chicken or leftover chicken works great here)
12 corn tortillas
A little vegetable oil for brushing or spraying
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
A little chopped cilantro, for garnish

==

Begin by roasting off your chiles.

I usually do this over my gas burner but you can do it on a grill or under the broiler.

You're looking for the skin of the chiles to blister and blacken uniformly. Any spot that isn't blistered will not come off the chile when we go to peel them.

Just keep them turning for even roasting.


Let cool until you can handle them. Most people do this in a paper bag.


Peel using a clean towel or paper towels to get a grip on the skins.


Split in half.


De-seed.


Give them a rough chop.


Toss into a blender.


Add 1 cup of loosely packed spinach leaves and stand by.


Now we can make the béchamel base for the sauce.

Start with 6 tablespoons or 3 oz of butter into a small sauce pan over medium heat.


While the butter melts, measure out 1/2 cup of flour.


Gather up some garlic. The recipe calls for 3 cloves but I usually double the garlic.


Next measure out 2 cups of milk.


To the milk, add 2 cups of chicken stock.


Once the butter has melted, crush or mince the garlic and add it to the butter.


Give it a stir for about 30 seconds to just bloom a bit.


To the butter and garlic, add the 1/2 cup of flour, little by little while whisking to avoid lumps. 

I'm doing it one handed here, but whisk.


Go, go, go.


It'll form into a mass pretty quickly. You can switch to a spatula or wooden spoon here and keep pressing the mass until you can no longer see any white raw flour specks.

It'll happen fast, like 2 minutes tops.


Now, add the milk/chicken stock mixture the same way, gradually, whisking the whole time to avoid lumps.


Whisk, whisk, whisk.


Once incorporated, boost the heat to high and bring it to a simmer. It'll start to thicken considerably.


Once it's thickened (about 5 minutes at a simmer) drop the heat to the lowest setting and pour off 2 cups to add to the spinach/poblanos in the blender.



Pour it in.



Blend with a towel over the top and the access port open, the steam build-up may be dangerous if you don't vent it a bit.


Blend very well.



Pour this back into the béchamel.



Stir well to combine. Kill the heat completely.


Season with Kosher salt. Rick Bayless suggests 2 teaspoons. I suggest you add 1/4 teaspoon at a time and taste it as you go. I ended up towards the 2 teaspoon mark. His seasoning suggestions are normally pretty spot-on.


Now we can heat up our tortillas.

If you're familiar with corn tortillas, you know they are fragile. I usually opt for flour since they're much easier to work with, but I used corn this time around.

This is a nice trick to getting a dozen pliable pretty fast.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F and lay out 6 tortillas on a baking sheet.

Spray them with oil and give them a flip.

Spray the new side then stack 6 more on top of them.

Give those a spray, flip and spray again.


Toss them in the oven for 3 minutes.


While they heat up, measure out some chicken. 

I had 12 ounces since my kids ate a bunch as I was breaking down the chicken. 


Pour 1 cup of the sauce directly into the chicken and mix well.


I always weigh out my fillings for enchiladas so I can portion them. Remember to tare weight out the bowl.



When your 3 minutes is up, stack the tortillas.


Place a towel over them to keep them warm.


Pour 1/4 cup of sauce into a 9x13 baking dish.


Smear it around evenly.


Begin portioning the filling.

I weigh everything because I obsess like that.

I had 19.5 oz of filling and I wanted 12 enchiladas, so I went with 1.6 oz of filling each (not including the tortilla).


Lay them in as you roll them.


They fit!


Pour the rest of the sauce over top.

Nice and green
Shred or gather up 1 cup of Jack cheese.


Sprinkle over top and toss into your 350F oven for 20 minutes.


Meanwhile, you can chop some cilantro for garnish if you're feeling fancy.


Pull from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, if you can.


==

These enchiladas ended up tasting great. The sauce was really rich and creamy thanks to the béchamel base and the spinach and poblanos added a real earthiness and a simultaneous brightness to it.

The juicy chicken filling was a great match for the sauce and we ate a bunch of them. Lay on some hot sauce to kick it up a notch.


Enjoy!

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