Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creamy Poblano-Tortilla Casserole


Creamy Poblano-Tortilla Casserole.  Pretty much any of those words on their own send me running to the kitchen, but combined?  Oh man, it's dangerous.  This casserole is made up of layers of crispy baked tortilla chips, a creamy, cheesy sauce, a tangy and spicy filling, and lots and lots of poblano peppers.  It's creamy, cheesy, crunchy, spicy, and well... just really freaking good.

I couldn't decide if this reminded me more of mac & cheese or an enchilada casserole... then I realized that I didn't care.  It was so awesome that there's no need to label it or compare it to anything else (though of course then I really wanted to make this green chile mac & cheese as a result, ha!).

Like I tend to do most days, I prepped this baby during nap time, then just popped it in the oven when Joey was on his way home.  I also put together a quick citrus and avocado salad to balance out the spice and richness of the casserole.  This was the perfect meal for the end of winter - comforting and homey, but with plenty of brightness and spice from the poblanos.  A winner all-around.

Creamy Poblano-Tortilla Casserole
adapted from Gourmet Today
serves 4

While this is a vegetarian dish, I see no reason why you couldn't stir some shredded chicken, pork, or ground beef or turkey into the filling.  

  • 9 (6- to 7-inch) corn tortillas
  • 3/4  pound poblano chiles, roasted and peeled (about 3 large poblano peppers)
  • 2  Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2  cups chopped white onions
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeds and ribs removed, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1  (14- to 15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
Sauce and topping
  • 2  Tbs unsalted butter
  • 2  Tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2  cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated  Monterey Jack cheese 
  • 1/2  tsp salt
  • 1/4  tsp pepper
Toast the tortilla wedges: Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Stack tortillas and cut into 8 wedges. Spread tortilla triangles in one layer on two large baking sheets and bake, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until crisp and pale golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool tortillas, and leave the oven on.

Prepare the chiles: Open chiles and spread flat; discard seeds and stems and cut out ribs. Cut chiles lengthwise into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Reserve about 1/4 cup for garnish, and roughly chop those strips into small pieces.

Make the filling: Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium-low heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions, jalapeño, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, tomatoes with juice, and remaining poblano strips and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped cilantro.

Make the sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan over  medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Add milk in a steady stream, whisking, and continue to cook and cook, whisking occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually add 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until cheese is melted, then add salt and pepper.

Assemble and bake: Arrange half of the tortillas in a greased 2-quart baking dish. Spoon filling evenly over top. Cover with remaining tortillas. Pour sauce over tortillas (tips of tortillas will stick up) and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese and reserved poblanos.  Bake, uncovered, in the upper third of oven until gratin is bubbling and top is golden, about 30 minutes.

Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving.


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Josie said...

This looks so good! I've been eyeing this recipe in Gourmet Today for a while and now I'm extra motivated to make it. Might as well put something hearty on the menu, as it's currently snowing here in the Northeast. Groan.

Josie said...

I've been dreaming up something kind of like this in my head for a while, but have been mulling it over forever because I couldn't quite figure out the details. I think you just figured it all out for me. This looks aaaammmaaazing.

Josie said...

I love dinners like this! Looks absolutely delicious.

Josie said...

Well, this is just a no brainer!! YUM.

Josie said...

Looks good - I love peppers and am trying to eat less meat. This is perfect!

Josie said...

Yes, it's a great meatless option - there so much other goodness here that you won't miss the meat!

Josie said...

I hope the snow is long-gone now, and I hope you've made and enjoyed this casserole too!

Josie said...

I suspect this casserole would make a great freezer meal to bring to a friend who has had a baby! At what point would you freeze it? Or would you freeze it at all? (Maybe I'm wrong!) Thanks! :)

Josie said...

Hi Gwen, I definitely think you could freeze it.. I'd probably just fully assemble, then freeze it like that. And let it thaw before baking.

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