2 ratings

Mexican Poblano Cheese Casserole

The perfect combination of nachos and chilaquiles

Mexican Poblano Cheese Casserole

Poblanos are a favorite of mine. Rich and meaty, these chiles may or may not pack a punch. After roasting them, they need to be peeled, and this is the step where you can tell if you got a spicy one! The aroma of the chile can often determine its heat. If you need to lessen the heat, seed and devein the chile.

This casserole gratin is a case of simple ingredients combining to make something greater than its parts. I highly recommend baking your own tortilla chips. Unlike chilaquiles, where you want the chips to melt into the mixture, this gratin thrives on the chips lending crispness and bite. The poblanos add heat and flavor, the tomatoes help carry the flavor forward and the cheese sauce... well, we all know the rich, smooth flavor cheese adds.

This is one casserole that may become part of your regular lineup: It is that good. Perfect to serve as a side dish or on its own, and you could even add a fried egg on the side. Then again, it would also be a great dip eaten with more chips. Hot and bubbly, straight out of the oven, eat this one immediately; though I promise that won't be hard!


For the filling

  • 9 (6- or 7-inch) corn tortillas
  • 3 large roasted poblanos, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 Cups chopped white onions
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 14- to 15-ounce can diced tomatoes

For the sauce and topping:

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 Cup whole milk
  • 3 Cups coarsely grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ancho chile powder (optional)



For the filling

Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.

Stack tortillas and cut into about eight wedges each. Spread tortillas in a single layer on two large baking sheets and bake, stirring occasionally and switching positions halfway through, baking until wedges are crisp and pale golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool.

Roast whole poblanos on a grill, under a broiler or over a gas flame. This will take about 5-10 minutes depending on your heat source. Stem, peel, and deseed. Cut lengthwise into ¼-inch wide strips. Reserve 1/4 cup for garnish.

Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat, until hot but not smoking.

Add onions and garlic, and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Stir in salt, undrained tomatoes, reserved poblano strips and simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside.

For the sauce and topping:

Melt butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium-low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking for 2 minutes to make a roux.

Add milk in a steady stream, whisking and cook for 2 minutes while still whisking.

Remove from heat and gradually add 2 cups cheese, stirring until cheese is melted, then add seasonings.


Arrange half of tortillas in a buttered 2-quart gratin or other shallow baking dish.

Spoon filling evenly over top. Cover with remaining tortillas.

Pour cheese sauce over tortillas. Some may stick up. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese and reserved poblano strips.

Bake, uncovered, in upper third of oven until gratin is bubbling and top is golden, about 30 minutes.