Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas

As many of you know, I have a serious obsession for anything tex-mex, and it’s pretty rare to go a month without some sort of tex-mex influenced dish here, let alone beyond the scope of this blog. In fact, it’s rare we go a week without consuming tex-mex in some way, shape or form; whether it’s a recipe created for this space, a dish we’ve whipped up on a weeknight or dinner at our favorite hole-in-the-wall Mexican joint. Although if you look at the last couple of months, you’d never know as our diets have depicted a completely different story. I can count one, maybe two times we’ve had Mexican in the recent past – and that needed to change STAT.

Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas

When I’m in a Mexican drought, these chipotle sour cream enchiladas (pardon the horrendous pictures) or these classic enchiladas (with homemade enchilada sauce) will typically satisfy my craving instantly, but I’ve got our upcoming trip to Puerto Vallarta on the brain, and I cannot stop thinking about a traditional Mexican dish they specialize in called Chiles En Bogada. Interestingly enough, I haven’t actually tried it, so I’m not really sure why it’s embedded into my brain as something I love. I imagine it’s because I’ve been obsessively stalking Yelp for reviews of our favorite restaurants around the PV area, and this dish is always something that pops up at all the “authentic” non-touristy spots. It’s a dish I’ve always wanted to order when presented on a menu, and as a self-proclaimed adventurous eater, you would think I would have just gone for it, but each time I’ve shied away from it to go with a safer choice of enchiladas or street tacos. Clearly I should have just taken the plunge, since I’m still talking about it to this day – almost a whole year later.

So until I’m actually in Mexico again and can try it for myself (which I will do this time), I thought I’d take the parts I’m drawn to and put my own spin on the Mexican classic – enchilada style.

Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas 7
As is the case with most authentic Mexican dishes, Chiles En Bogada – which translates to Chiles in Walnut Sauce – is basically just a healthier version of a chile relleno. Instead of being deep-fried, whole poblano peppers are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef or pork, various fruits and nuts, smothered in a creamy walnut sauce and then sprinkled with tangy pomegranate seeds.

In my enchilada version, I sautéed two whole poblano chiles with a little bit of onion, garlic and jalapeno, and instead of ground pork or beef, used a rotisserie chicken – almost always my go-to when making weeknight enchiladas. To keep in line with the filling of the traditional version, I threw in some dried cranberries for that sweet flavor that makes the original so unique and interesting, plus I just love the combination of sweet and spicy encompassed all in one bite.

Annnndd, here is where I completely butchered the integrity of the original (in a good way), instead of making a traditional walnut sauce, I went a more indulgent route with a good ol’ fashioned cheese sauce. The sauce is pretty straightforward, made up of part chicken stock, part milk, a whole lotta Monterrey jack cheese and just a touch of coriander and cumin for subtle warmth.

Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas

The filling is wrapped up in charred tortillas (optional), tucked into a casserole dish, smothered in the creamy sauce and topped with a dusting of shredded cheese. It’s popped into the oven and baked until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.

Once it’s out of the oven, I let it rest for a little while and then top it with a relish of sorts, made up of the classic topping of pomegranate seeds, chopped cilantro and sliced fresno chili peppers for extra heat.

I feel like anytime I come up with a new enchilada recipe, I enthusiastically proclaim it’s my new favorite enchilada dish, but this time it’s for real, IT’S MY NEW FAVORITE ENCHILADA DISH. The sweet, spicy, tangy, cheesy combo gets me every.single.time. I’ve been sneaking bites (cold bites nonetheless) every time I open the fridge, and it’s just as good, if not better than the moment it came out of the oven — a sure sign it’s a keeper.

Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas

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Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas
 
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Poblano peppers, pulled chicken and dried cranberries are stuffed into charred flour tortillas, smothered with cheese sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, cilantro and sliced fresno chili peppers.
Author:
Serves: 7 enchiladas
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 poblano peppers, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups warm chicken stock
  • ½ cup warm milk
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon coriander
  • 2 cups Monterrey jack cheese, shredded and divided
  • 7-8 flour tortillas.
  • 2 fresno chili peppers, sliced
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a rectangle baking dish
  2. In a large non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over a medium heat. Add peppers, onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cranberries, cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add chicken. Heat through. Set aside.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil and butter over a medium heat. Once melted whisk in flour. Cook for 1 minute. Slowly whisk in warm chicken stock, making sure to get all lumps out. Whisk in milk. Add in remaining salt. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add in 1 ½ cups of cheese. Whisk until cheese is melted. Set aside.
  5. Divide filling evenly among tortillas and roll ups. Place in baking dish so that the longest part of the tortilla is on the bottom of the dish (This helps to keep the filling in place). Pour sauce over enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. Let rest for five minutes.
  7. In a bowl toss chili peppers, cilantro and pomegranate seeds together. Sprinkle over top of enchiladas.

Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate and Poblano Chicken Enchiladas