Enchiladas Especiales Tacuba Style

Enchiladas Cremosas de Pollo, Estilo Cafe Tacuba
Recipe from Season 7, Mexico—One Plate at a Time
Servings: 4to 6


  • 2fresh poblano chiles
  • 1cup (lightly packed) roughly chopped spinach leaves
  • 2cups milk
  • 2cups chicken broth
  • 6tablespoons (3 ounces) butter, or you can use vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2cup flour
  • Salt
  • 3cups coarsely shredded cooked chicken (I usually use a rotisserie chicken or leftover grilled chicken)
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Alittle vegetable oil for brushing or spraying
  • About 1cup Mexican melting cheese (Chihuahua, quesadilla, asadero or the like) or Monterey Jack, brick or mild cheddar
  • Alittle chopped cilantro, for garnish


  1. Make the sauce. Roast the poblanos directly over a gas flame or on a baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, turning regularly, until the skins have blistered and blackened on all side, about 5 minutes for an open flame, about 10 minutes under the broiler. Place in a bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and, when handleable, rub off the blackened skin, tear open and pull out the seed pod and stem. Quickly rinse to remove any stray seeds or bits of skin. Roughly chop and put in a blender jar. Add the spinach.
    In a medium (3-quart) saucepan, combine the milk and broth, set over medium-low heat to warm.
    In a large (4-quart) saucepan, melt the butter (or heat the oil) over medium. Add the garlic and cook for a minute to release its aroma, then add the flour and stir the mixture for a minute. Raise the heat to medium-high. Pour in the warm broth mixture and whisk constantly until the sauce boils. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    Pour half the hot sauce into the blender with the chiles and spinach. Cover loosely (I remove the center part of the lid, secure the lid, then drape a cloth over the whole thing) and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining sauce. Taste and season with salt, usually about 2 teaspoons.
  2. Finish the enchiladas. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Smear about 1/4 cup of the sauce over the bottom of each of four to six 9-inch individual ovenproof baking/serving dishes or smear about 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of a 13x9-inch baking dish. Stir 1 cup of the sauce into the chicken.
    Lay half of the tortillas out on a baking sheet and lightly brush or spray both sides of the tortillas with oil; top each tortilla with another one and brush or spray those with oil. Bake just to warm through and soften, about 3 minutes. Stack the tortillas and cover with a towel to keep warm.
    Working quickly so that the tortillas stay hot and pliable, roll a portion of the chicken up in each tortilla, then line them all up in the baking dish(es). Douse evenly with the remaining sauce and sprinkle with the cheese. Bake until the enchiladas are hot through (the cheese will have begun to brown), about 20 minutes. Garnish with the cilantro and serve without hesitation.


  1. Rick- I and my whole family love u. I’ve made several of your recipes for them & they always brag about how very good it was. You haven’t let me down yet! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with all of us grateful home cooks out here. It’s often a thankless job we do EXCEPT when we use your recipes. Then we get rave reviews!

  2. Mama mia, is this ever good! This may be my favorite of your recipes. The only change I made was to add some heat to the poblano sauce with some cumin and cayenne.

  3. I made this recipe exactly as written. I was disappointed in the sauce. The heaviness of the Bechamel was overpowering. There was little poblano flavor. The sauce needs an acidic element to brighten it up.

    1. Try topping finished and plated enchiladas with cotija cheese and maybe Rick’s quick ‘pickled’ red onions. Or some other pickled items. I agree, the sauce is rich and ‘heavy’. But it is a bechamel! Adding any appreciable (noticeable) acidity to the sauce in the beginning might cause it to ‘break’? Therefore, I think adding at plating time is best option- allows for more creativity and dimension.

    2. Andy, I’m sure your measurements were wrong on the bechemel, add an extra poblano if you were right AND the brightness comes from the cilantro!!!

    3. Squeeze fresh lime juice and sprinkle freshly chopped cilantro over you enchiladas. I also use two additional poblanos.

  4. I’ve made a vegan version of this – and it’s divine!! Thank you for the guidance towards making perfects enchiladas, of all kinds. xoxo

  5. Loved this recipe!! I doctored it a bit, using a lot more garlic, 5 poblanos, almost an entire bag of spinach, and added a couple jalepenos for heat. But, it turned out great. Very creamy, garlicky, and the spinach doesn’t get lost. I will make this again.

  6. I have made this 100 times and it just gets better and better. I love this recipe as does my whole family. I give it 5 stars!

    Thank you.

  7. Rick and everyone involved,

    Thanks for posting these great recipes on the internet gratis, it is most appreciated by myself, friends and family.

    For a less healthy version, I’ve been pan frying the tortillas in vegetable oil with cumin seeds. Also, I serve them in personal size cast iron pans.



  8. I am making this for the second time due to the constant requests I get for it. I really enjoy the sauce, a bit of heat but blends nicely in the enchilada.

  9. I made this recipe and really like the flavor. I substituted rice and beans for the chicken. I used one poblano and found that was plenty flavor and heat. I’m I the only one who finds poblanos hot? I always use half the amount called for in recipes. I wonder if poblanos vary in heat. The ones I buy here in Oregon are almost as hot as jalapenos. I’m not a spice wimp, really.


  11. Pretty good, but not great. I added another poblano and a full bag of baby spinach and the sauce was still a little flat despite being very well seasoned. I think the sauce could use 4-5 Poblanos, plus a Jalapeno or Serrano for some extra heat. I also think the filling could be more interesting with the addition of sautéed mushrooms and onions vs simply shredded chicken. This has great potential, but the recipe as it stands is pretty mediocre. First Bayless recipe I’ve tried that wasn’t absolutely killer…

  12. I agree w Frank. These had the makings of good enchiladas but as they are they’re lacking a lot of flavor. Certainly onions should be included and maybe cumin. Run this back through the test kitchen. If you got these at a Mexican restaurant, you wouldn’t send them back – but you’d order something else the next time.

  13. Great recipe and true to the Tacuba name. I LOL’ed at some of the suggestions people are making…not everything Mexican has to be hot folks! Made me wish I was back at the Cafe de Tacuba. Thanks Rick!

  14. Getting ready to make this a second time. First time I made them I made enough for 12 servings and they were the best enchiladas i have ever eaten. My family and friends all said these were the best enchildas ever. These are Mexican enchiladas not Tex-Mex.

  15. My family really liked this. I think in part for change of pace from tomato/bean/rice versions. I call it Mexican comfort food. Subbed a jalapeño and some chipotle/ ancho preserved sort of pepper as it was what I had on hand. Served a lime dressed slaw with cilantro which provided balance.

  16. These were really good, but I also found them to need a touch of acid & more heat. Drizzled mine with a bit of cholula & it was the perfect solution! Will definitely make them again.

  17. Love Mr. Bayless he has changed my life in the Kitchen!!!!
    My favorite cheif hands down!!!!

  18. This is a favorite of the Taylor (Barba) household. 🙂 Thankful for your contribution to the culinary arts.

  19. I made these twice in a row and knocked them off so fast it’s ridiculous. I roasted an extra poblano and mixed it with the chicken, and they were incredible – mellow, smooth, sophisticated, subtle flavor. This would be a perfect dish to introduce someone to Mexican food, they won’t be expecting how delicate the flavors are. I’ve made many recipes on here because Rick is someone I admire a great deal (I’m a chef) and although I love fierce heat this one is my favorite so far. Just ate my last one. Bummer.

  20. Always great recipes! I follow your show and love the option of putting your own stamp on each dish. As a proud Mexican I can definitely say that you have outdone yourself. Keep it up! By the way, I’m making this enchiladas por the second time on a vegan version.

  21. Delicious! Added an extra poblano because I love them, but otherwise cooked as instructed and LOVED it. The kids loved it, too, which is almost a miracle.

  22. These were insanely good! We live in Phoenix and my husband is constantly craving Mexican food. Made these for Christmas Eve dinner. I was worried they may not be special enough, but he said they were “restaurant quality.” High praise from him. So excited to find this recipe and look forward to trying more now.

  23. This is a family favorite for years now. My daughter just asked for the recipe. We have made this with friends, in our kids dorm rooms (which was a joke but successful) and at home. We typically do a blend of both chicken and beef. Always a favorite and we are picky!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *