I do hereby declare that this Shrimp Enchilada with Roasted Poblano Sauce represents my taste buds fully grown up…almost 5 decades after my birth…yep, took that long. I’ve always loved shrimp. However, onions? Ugh. Hot chili peppers of any kind? No way. And not only does this recipe have one type of chili, but a whoppin’ two! With one of ‘em visible in the white sauce…gasp!
But I ate it. And I loved it. And my taste buds are so proud of the big girl in me ; )
Honestly, I feel like this is a very grown-up dish for me to eat because it contains so many things I run far far away from. Actually, I’ve grown to tolerate onions–but only when chopped very very very fine and sauteed until absolutely no crunch is left. My skin totally crawls with heebie jeebies from raw onions or any form of onion close to its raw state. I must admit that I did chop them very fine for the inclusion in this dish, though, to up the tolerance factor.
When I chopped the poblano chili peppers after roasting them (I actually used pasilla peppers–see Chowhound for a discussion of the two), I hesitated to toss them into the sauce. I felt it would ruin it and my slaving over this dish would be for naught. I took a deep breath, though, and forged ahead. So glad I did. A myriad of flavors barrel forth from these enchiladas and the sauce.
Let’s talk sauce first. Creamy. Tiny tang from the sour cream that offsets any heat from the chili peppers. Depth from homemade chicken broth. And a light freshness from the cilantro.
Now the sauce certainly enhances the enchiladas and in my opinion makes this delectable dish rocket out of this world, but the combo of shrimp, cabbage, onion, carrot, and spinach all complement each other. You get some crunch and sweetness from carrots, some chew from the shrimp, some kick from the chipotle peppers that lingers in a pleasing way. And I like that a handful of healthy veggies are incorporated; it makes me feel good eating this despite the fact that it gets doused in a sour cream sauce and layer of cheese.
I made homemade tortillas for the first time ever the day I made these. They came out very misshapen and rustic looking, but the taste–oh.my.god–tender and…well, just tastes like real food vs. chemicals. I’m never going back to store-bought again. Never! Anyhow, once you roll it up, the homely appearance makes no difference, for it all disappears into the roll.
And let’s not forget the layer of cheese on top–all bubbly and crusty and gooey…mmmmm!!
You won’t find this recipe categorized under “quick and easy,” nor is it overly challenging. It just has a bit of chopping and roasting and sauteing that takes some time. However, the end result makes all the effort worthwhile. Very worthwhile.
P.S. I do offer a couple of shortcuts in the recipe below for those desiring a quicker version of the recipe.
Shrimp Enchilada with Roasted Poblano Sauce
- 2 poblano peppers
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp. unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or veggie broth
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. oregano
- dash cayenne pepper (or more, if you like the heat)
- kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups green cabbage, shredded
- 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
(or you can use pre-packaged cole slaw in place of shredding your own cabbage and
- 3 cups baby spinach
- 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (found in cans in the market), seeded and finely minced or 1 tsp. chipotle powder (tip: freeze extra peppers in ice cube trays & store in freezer bags)
- 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined (save time by purchasing already peeled/deveined shrimp)
- 10 to 12 (8-inch) flour or corn tortillas
- 2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
- To roast peppers: Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Place peppers in a medium baking dish. Bake, turning every 6-8 minutes until the skin is blistered over most of the surface, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, cover, and let sit 15 minutes. When cool enough to handle, peel away the skin and discard. Remove the stem, seeds, and ribs. Coarsely chop the peppers and set aside.
- To make the sauce: Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then stir in the chopped poblanos. Sprinkle in flour, cooking briefly just until golden, 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in the broth, adding a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles and thickens.
- Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream and cilantro.
- To make filling: Begin by spreading shrimp on baking pan in one layer, then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper (alternatively, you can sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. chipotle powder if you aren’t using actual chipotle peppers). Bring shrimp to one pile and pour 1 tbsp. olive oil onto shrimp. Toss to mix, then spread shrimp out in one layer. Roast at 400 degrees F. for 6-8 minutes, just until they are pink and cooked through. When cooled enough to handle, coarsely chop the shrimp.
- Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, oregano, and cayenne; cook until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in cabbage, carrots, and spinach; cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is fully wilted, 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in chipotle peppers; cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add chopped shrimp; stir them into filling.
- Allow to cool slightly, then stir in one cup shredded cheese.
- To assemble: Lightly grease a 9X13-inch baking dish.
- Place 3-4 tortillas on a plate, cover with a light cloth, then heat them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to make them pliable. Alternatively, wrap in foil and place in the oven for a couple of minutes. Place about 1/3 cup filling down the center of a tortilla. Roll up tightly and place in prepared pan, seam-side down. Repeat with remaining filling and tortillas.
- When pan is filled, pour the poblano sauce over the enchiladas.
- Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese.
- Bake until bubbling and slightly golden, 20-25 minutes. Sprinkle with additional cilantro. Serve immediately.