Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Roasted Poblano Chicken Enchiladas

I know I'm supposed to be telling you all about my plans for turkeys and potatoes and stuffing of sorts. But what if I just wanted to tell you about these dreamy enchiladas instead? What then? Is that food-blogger blasphemy the week before Turkey Day?

I've always been a rebel.

Well, actually, no I haven't. In fact, when I was getting close to graduating from high school, my dad said to me, "Don't you ever want to get in trouble to see what it feels like? You can get detention if you want!"

So maybe I follow the rules. But there's something that feels a little badass when I'm charring a poblano pepper over an open flame. Yeah, that's right. I meant for that to burn. I meant for the alarm to go off, and for my husband to have to wave a pillow in front of the smoke detector.

This recipe has several steps, so for us it's been more of a weekend recipe. Or, if I'm going to make it during the week, I roast the poblanos and make the enchilada sauce ahead of time and keep it in the fridge. That way all that's left to do is heat the sauce, cook the chicken, toss together the filling, and assemble the enchiladas.

I also want to throw out there that we adore Mexican food — but not necessarily "Tex Mex" style, where dishes are heavy and loaded with sour cream and cheese. We love the simple flavors of authentic Mexican, where your taste buds travel from cilantro to chiles to spices and back. For that reason, this recipe is a keeper in our kitchen. And every time I make it, I'm reminded of how freaking delicious it is.

This recipe easily feeds four (maybe more, depending on the size of tortillas you use and how hungry everyone is), but it also reheats nicely. So I usually use two 8x8 baking dishes instead of one 13x9. That way I can save one of the baking dishes for leftovers the next night, and all I need to do is reheat the whole dish in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until heated through.

Roasted Poblano Chicken Enchiladas (makes about 8-10 enchiladas)

2 poblano chiles, roasted, skinned, and chopped
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped small
1 - 2 jalapeƱos, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. good chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. sugar
1 cup water
15 oz. can tomato puree (tomato sauce works too)
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to about 3/4"
1 cup frozen or fresh corn
2 cups shredded jack cheese (cheddar jack, Colby jack, and Monterrey jack all work!)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
8 - 10 (6- or 8-inch) flour (or corn) tortillas
Cooking spray

Roast the poblanos (make-ahead option). You can roast the poblanos ahead of time or about 30 minutes before you start cooking. To do so, use the oven method or char them right on a gas stovetop (which is my preferred method for so few peppers). Put the poblanos directly on the burner over a medium flame and allow the skins to blister and blacken. Rotate the peppers about every 3 minutes so that all sides blacken evenly — 10-15 minutes of total cooking time. Remove the poblanos from the burner with tongs and immediately wrap in a large piece of foil, allowing them to steam so the skins loosen. Once cool enough to handle, hold each chile by its stem and slide your hand down the poblano to remove the skin. Remove all skin from the poblano, and then remove the stem and seeds. Chop the roasted poblanos and set aside.

Make the enchilada sauce. Heat the oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, jalapeƱos, and 1/2 tsp. salt. Cook, stirring often, until veggies have softened — about 6-8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and poblanos and cook for another minute until fragrant. Then add the chili powder, cumin, and sugar. Stir to coat the veggies, less than 30 seconds. Next stir in the water, tomato puree/sauce, and chopped tomato. Bring to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes until slightly thickened.

Cook the chicken. If you haven't already, pound your chicken breasts using a meat tenderizer so that they are even in thickness, about 3/4". This will help them to cook evenly. Nestle the chicken into the simmering sauce, and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked to 160 degrees, about 15-18 minutes. While the chicken cooks, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the sauce and let cool on the side.

Make the filling. Strain the enchilada sauce into a separate bowl using a sieve, pressing with a spatula to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Transfer the veggie mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Using a fork or your hands, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the veggie mixture. Then add 1/4 cup of the reserved enchilada sauce, corn, 1 cup of the shredded cheese, and 1/4 of the cilantro. Stir to combine.

Put it all together. Spray a 13x9-inch baking dish or two 8x8-inch baking dishes with cooking spray. (If using corn tortillas, microwave the stack of tortillas on high until they are warm and pliable, about 40-50 seconds.) Spoon about 1/3 cup of the filling evenly down the center of a tortilla and tightly roll. Lay seam-side down in the baking dish, making sure that they are close together — nice and cozy.

Bake 'em up. Lightly spray the tops of the enchiladas with the cooking  spray and place in the oven, uncovered, for about 7 minutes until the tortillas start to brown slightly. Remove the enchiladas from the oven and reduce the heat to 400 degrees. Pour the remaining enchilada sauce evenly on top, and then top with the remaining cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil, and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for another 5 minutes until cheese begins to brown. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with remaining cilantro. Serve with a small dollop of sour cream on the side, if desired.

Click here for a printable recipe!


  1. Yum!!! And now I know a new use for pillows! :)Plus . . . we always have some kind of enchiladas at our house over Thanksgiving weekend!

  2. See, Kathy, pillows are cute AND useful! :)

  3. Have I told you I love your blog???


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