Tilapia enchiladas

This is the tweak I did of a Rick Bayless recipe that originally had chicken in it. He’s a Chicago chef who specializes in Mexican food.

One note: My chicken stock is homemade, but you can use the stuff in a carton that Giant Eagle sells if you like. Just be sure to adjust for the salt that’s already in it. A low-sodium one is better than regular. One with no salt at all is best so you can control how much you add.

Also, for the poblanos, I find they steam better in a rolled-up brown paper bag after you char the skins. Makes it much easier – but no less messy — to peel them.

— JQS.


2.5 lbs. tilapia fillets.

12 6-inch flour tortillas, fresh if you can get them.

4 poblano peppers, roasted and roughly chopped. Do it over the open flame on a gas stovetop or on a pan under a broiler. Char skins until fully black, then place in a bag to steam. When cool enough to handle — at leasst 10-15 minutes — peel off skins and throw away. Pull out seeds and throw away.

1 jalapeno/serrano/anaheim chile, roughly chopped. If you want more heat, leave in the seeds and ribs. If not, take ’em out.

2 to 3 cups fresh spinach, washed and roughly chopped.

3 cups milk.

3 cups chicken stock.

4 cloves roasted garlic. (Can use fresh.)

3/4 cup white all-purpose flour.

1 stick unsalted butter. (Can substitute 8 tbsp. vegetable oil. But don’t. Mmm, butter.)

Salt and pepper.

Little bit of vegetable oil.

1/3 to 1/2 pound Mexican melting cheese, sliced thin or shredded. (I used Chihuahua, but jack or cheddar is an easy substitute if you can’t find it or don’t want to bother.)


Pat the tilapia fillets dry, season both sides with lime juice, salt and pepper. In a hot skillet, brown on both sides in vegetable oil. Set aside covered in foil on a plate lined with paper towels.

Put poblanos, spinach and the other chile pepper into a blender or food processor.

For the sauce: Combine chicken stock and milk and warm over very low heat in one saucepan. In another, melt the butter (or add in the oil, but honestly: butter) over medium heat. Add in the garlic and let it get fragrant, stirring a few times. Add in the flour and whisk together. After a couple minutes whisking, add in the stock/milk mixture, boost the heat to medium-high and keep whisking. Let it just come to a boil as it thickens, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for for or five more minutes, still whisking. Take off the heat and add half to the blender/food processor. Blend until smooth. Add back into the pot with the rest of the sauce and stir to combine.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roughly chop the cooked fish and combine with a cup or a little more of the sauce, just enough to coat it all.

Brush the tortillas with a teeny bit of oil and place on a baking sheet. Can stack them up a couple high if necessary. Put in the oven for about three minutes to heat through.

In a flat-bottomed glass baking dish (lasagne pan, for instance; may need two), smear a cup or so of sauce in the bottom.

Pull out the tortillas, scoop a bit of the fish mixture into the center of each and roll up, placing seam-side down in the sauce in the glass pan(s). Top with more sauce and the cheese, then put the pan(s) into the oven for about 20 minutes, until the fish heats all the way through and the cheese melts and maybe even browns a little.



3 thoughts on “Tilapia enchiladas

  1. Pingback: Generosity. | eatsburgh

  2. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe. For the Pittsburgh readers, you can find “6-inch flour tortillas, fresh if you can get them,” at Reyna Foods, 2031 Penn Ave in the Strip District. I can’t get enough of them, and use them in my own fish tacos.

    • Reyna’s is pretty good for that. The “if you can get them” was more because they sometimes run out and other places can have odd sizes. Thanks for the note, though.

      Where are you on the North Side? That’s home for me as well.

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