Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Here in Texas we don’t have to go far to find great Mexican food. Sometimes I don’t even leave the house! That’s because this recipe is based on dish served from a cafe in Mexico.

I adapted this recipe from one that Rick Bayless shared on a PBS special called “Moveable Feast with America’s Favorite Chefs”. I had made it a few times and really enjoy the creaminess of the sauce and the depth of flavor.  But I thought it could use a little more heat, so I added the roasted jalapenos to the original recipe. With that addition, the sauce has a really nice flavor, but test your jalapenos first…some can be surprisingly hot! This dish also presents well for guests if you have individual baking/serving dishes that hold 2-3 enchiladas.


  • 3 fresh poblano chiles
  • 2 fresh jalapeno chiles
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves, lightly packed
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 tablespoons butter (can also use vegetable oil)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Salt
  • 3 cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (I usually use a rotisserie chicken)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup of Mexican cheese (Chihuahua, quesadilla, or similar dry cheese) or Monterey Jack


1. Roast the poblano and jalapeno chiles over a gas flame, grill or baking sheet below a broiler, turning regularly until the skins have blistered and blackened on all sides. Remove from heat and cover with a kitchen towel for 5 minutes. Rub off the blackened skin, tear apart and pull out the seed pods and stems. Put pepper in a blender and add the spinach.

2. Heat oven to 350 degrees.

3. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and broth. Set mixture over medium-low heat to warm.

4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, then add flour and continue cooking for another minute. Raise the heat to medium-high, pour in the warm broth mixture, and whisk constantly until the sauce boils. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Pour half the sauce into the blender with the chiles and spinach. Cover and blend until smooth. Pour mixture back into saucepan with the remaining sauce and stir to combine. Taste and season with salt.

6. Lay half of the tortillas on a baking sheet and lightly brush or spray both sides with oil. Bake until warm, about 5 minutes. Remove and stack tortillas to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

7. Add 1/2 cup of the sauce to the bottom of a baking dish. Add one cup of the sauce to the shredded chicken and mix.

8. Roll a portion of the chicken up in each tortilla, then line them up in the baking dish. Cover tortillas with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake until heated through and cheese begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Serve with sour cream and cilantro.

Serves 4-6

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