Spinach Enchiladas

Total Time:
5 hr 14 min
Prep:
1 hr
Inactive:
24 min
Cook:
3 hr 50 min

Yield:
6 servings
Level:
Intermediate

Ingredients
  • 4 Poblano chile peppers, about 1 pound
  • 4 pounds fresh spinach, stems removed and well rinsed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 4 tablespoons
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup cubed queso fresco or queso blanco
  • 1 cup cubed Pepper Jack, plus 1 cup grated
  • 1 cup grated cotija or Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Refried Beans, recipe follows
  • Mexican Rice, recipe follows
  • Refried Beans:
  • 1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight in a large bowl with water to cover by 2-inches, and drained
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup bacon drippings or lard
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced, seeded jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated queso blanco
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro, garnish
  • Mexican Rice:
  • 2 tablespoons lard
  • 1/2 cup ground pork
  • 1/4 pound chorizo, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped white onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 large tomato, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock, or water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Roast the peppers by placing them on an open gas flame, turning them frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, about 7 to 10 minutes. (Alternately, the peppers can be roasted under a broiler, or on top of a gas or charcoal grill.) Place the blackened peppers in a plastic or paper bag, and let rest until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel the peppers, split in half lengthwise, and discard the seeds and the stems. Roughly chop and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In 3 batches, add the spinach and blanch for 15 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and shock in an ice bath. Remove and squeeze out the excess. Chop and set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until very soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 45 seconds. Add 1/4 cup of the flour and cook, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, to make a light roux, 2 minutes. Gradually add the half-and-half, and cook, stirring, until thick, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach and stir to incorporate. Remove from the heat and fold in half of the chopped chiles. Adjust the seasoning, to taste. Fold in the cubed queso fresco and both Pepper Jacks, and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the grated Pepper Jack and cotija. Set aside.

In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium temperature. One at a time, add the tortillas to the hot oil and cook, turning, until soft and pliable, 15 seconds per side, adding more oil as needed. Remove from the pan and place on a work surface. Place about 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture into the center of each tortilla and roll up into a cylinder. Place, seam side down, in a single layer across the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch casserole dish.

In a saucepan, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour and cook, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon, to make a light roux. Slowly add the chicken stock and cook, stirring, until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cream and cook, stirring, until thick, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining poblano peppers and cook for 1 minute. Pour over the filled enchiladas and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover evenly with the grated cheeses. Return to the oven and bake until the cheeses are melted and bubbly and the enchiladas are completely warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Serve with Refried Beans and Mexican Rice.

Refried Beans:

In a medium, heavy pot, combine the beans, bay leaf, and enough water to cover by 1 to 2 inches. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are very tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep covered. When the beans are soft, mash in the pot with a potato masher or the back of heavy wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the bacon fat over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, chili powder, cumin, salt, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the beans and any cooking liquid from the pot, and the oregano, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring with a heavy wooden spoon, until the mixture forms a thick paste, 5 to 10 minutes, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time to keep from getting dry.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a decorative bowl. Sprinkle with the cheese and cilantro, and serve.

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups (4 to 6 servings)

Mexican Rice:

In a medium, heavy saucepan, heat the lard over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook, stirring until no longer pink. Add the sausages and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the stock, salt, and saffron, and stir well. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, cover, and cook undisturbed until all the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff the rice with a fork. Add the oregano and cilantro, and stir to incorporate.

Turn into a decorative bowl and garnish with the green onions. Serve immediately.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


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