Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Mexican Poblano Cheese Casserole and #LaLoma

"This Mexican poblano cheese casserole is proof that simple ingredients in the right combination, can easily become more than the sum of its parts. This savory, cheesy gratin is home made Mexican goodness!"
It goes without saying that Mr. Manservant travels a lot. It also goes without saying that the first item of business when he arrives home is eating breakfast at the pancake house and getting his fill of Mexican food. Finding good Mexican food when travelling the world is not an easy thing to do. In addition to devouring chips and salsa, chile rellenos, and refried beans, rice and green chile; Manservant really loves his tequila. He drinks tequila in its most primal form which means he likes it shaken well with ice, a touch of Rose's or lime juice, and then strained into a chilled martini glass. Tequila is also another item not easily found when circling the globe.

Denver has its share of Mexican restaurants, but not many good ones. Often we find ourselves craving Mexican food and then having to figure out where to go. Even the not so good ones are packed. Recently I found myself invited to a grand Reopening of a long time favorite of ours; though one we found hard to visit. Its new location is more accessible which makes me very happy! La Loma has been a staple in Denver's restaurant scene for 40 years and features all my favorites. Their green chile is outstanding; they make their own flour tortillas and the rellenos are just like mine. Yeah, that means the crispy, egg roll variety oozing with lots of cheese. Carnitas tacos could be my new fave as I loved the pickled onions, cheese and avocado that  accompanied them. La Loma also has chimichangas on the menu which are hard to find in the Mile High. Additionally the free valet parking after 5PM, means within minutes we have spicy red salsa and crispy corn chips awaiting us, as we don't have to waste time finding a place to park.


Arta Tequila, a 100% blue Weber agave, small batch craft tequila, will be the new premier bourbon barrel aged tequila featured at La Loma. Aged in American white oak, the tequila is in contact with the charred golden oak and holds about 30 gallons of Reposado. It is aged 11 months and will continue to age at LaLoma. Manservant can't wait to try it!  Hints of pumpkin and vanilla make this tequila smooth and oaky and very sippable. What great margaritas these make and I can assure you that LaLoma's sweet and sour mix  (which is available for purchase) means that you too can make your margaritas the hit of the party!  Take note margarita lovers!

With this new move LaLoma will soon have three locations.The new, not yet opened, flagship location will be across from the Aquarium and during Broncos season will even offer a shuttle. A third La Loma will open in Castle Rock. Additionally a new concept restaurant called Sierra Grill is coming to Ridge Gate next summer and will feature a wood fired grill and pizza oven. Though LaLoma has moved locations it will continue to have the same great, tasty food with its roots in traditional recipes. It has also managed to retain the feel of the original La Loma, which means a warm cozy atmosphere awaits you. Exposed brick, a fire place, stained glass, great art work and friendly servers are part of its charm. When Manservant sufficiently recovered from jet lag my plan was to drive downtown and feed him, but due to my lack of planning ahead, we found ourselves not being able to score a seat on a Sunday night. This place is la popular!

La Loma may have a new location, but its historic origins are still felt. Check out the new digs, don't forget to order churros with chocolate sauce for dessert, and please call to make a reservation. This place has a loyal following which ensures that old traditions don't die-they just get better!


LaLoma
1801 Broadway
Denver, CO 80202
11AM-10PM Daily and Open until 11PM on weekends
Free Parking after 5
303-433-8300


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Soon I will share the new LaLoma with Manservant, but in the meantime I made him this savory poblano cheese casserole. Poblanos are a favorite of mine. Rich and meaty these chilies may or may not pack a punch. After roasting them, they do need to be peeled and it is in this step that one can often tell if you got a spicy one! The aroma of the chile can often be the deciding factor in determining the heat of the chile. In that case, if you seed and devein the chile, it lessens the heat. That is if you want to lessen the heat!


This casserole gratin is a case of simple ingredients combining to make something greater than its parts. Cheesy and full of flavor we gorged on this for lunch and dinner. I highly recommend baking your own tortilla chips. Unlike chilaquiles where you want the chips to kind of 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 that cheese adds.  This is one casserole that may become part of your regular line up. It is that good. Perfect to serve as a side dish or on its own, 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!


Yield: 4-6Print Recipe

MEXICAN POBLANO CHEESE CASSEROLE

PREP TIME: 30 MINSCOOK TIME: 30 MINSTOTAL TIME: 60 MINS
This Mexican Poblano cheese gratin may contain simple ingredients, but combined together they make something greater than its parts! This is so good it should become part of your regular rotation!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 9 (6-7") corn tortillas
  • 3 large roasted poblanos, peeled
  • 2 T vegetable oil
  • 2 c chopped white onions
  • 1 T minced fresh garlic
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 14-15 oz can diced tomatoes
Sauce and Topping
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 2 T flour
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk
  • 3 c coarsely grated cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • 1/4 t Ancho chile powder (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Put racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 400. Stack tortillas and cut into about 8 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, 15-20 minutes. Cool.
  2. Roast chilies and stem, peel and deseed. Cut lengthwise into 1/4" wide strips. Reserve 1/4 c for garnish.
  3. Heat oil in a 10" 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 and undrained tomatoes, remaining poblano strips and simmer for 2 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Melt butter in a 2 qt heavy saucepan over medium low heat. Add flour and cook, whisking for two minutes to make a roux. Add milk in a steady stream, whisking and cook for two minutes while still whisking. Remove from heat and gradually add 2 c cheese, stirring until cheese is melted, then add seasonings.
  5. Assembly: 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 c cheese and reserved poblano strips.
  6. Bake, uncovered in upper thrd of oven until gratin is bubbling and top is golden, about 30 minutes.
Created using The Recipes Generator


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25 comments:

  1. We'll have to meet for lunch one day soon at La Loma! I'd love to try it out, everything sounds good.

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    1. It's a plan! It is very good and a really nice place for a visit. And who doesn't love great food?

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  2. We love Mexican too! And are happy to have several Mexican (and Mexican-like) restaurants close to where we live. And of course we cook plenty of Mexican dishes at home. So I'm delighted to meet this nifty casserole. Easy and tasty -- what's not to like? Thanks. And hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

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    1. You will love this John! Perfect for this bone chilling weather! Hope you have a great holiday season, too!

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    2. We love Mexican food as well but fortunately for us we are surrounded by good Mexican restaurants. Love, love this poblano cheese casserole, so nice of you to make this for your Manservant. Take care Abbe!

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  3. Maddy took us to a fabulous Mexican restaurant in Denver. I don't think it was La Loma. I'll have to ask her the name. But even better than going out is making this amazing Mexican casserole at home!

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    1. There are good ones, just not too many close to us. Lots in her neck of the woods though!

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  4. I want to have some of that gorgeous casserole!!

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  5. Love poblano peppers and this is a great make ahead dish I know that our family would love. Take care

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  6. Wwesounds like my kind of pla. as does that tequila "recipe" you husband practices. Not that I'm bragging but Los Angeles has many many great Mexican places. Even regional Mexican specialties! GREG

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    1. Yes Greg. You can brag and you are right!

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  7. We love good Mexican food too. I grew poblanos last year and loved the earthy flavor. Know I have a good recipe to add to my poblano repertoire!

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    Replies
    1. Love poblanos. Trader Joes almost always has them and I am so glad! Try this Susan!

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  8. I'm happy to read this article. I heard a nasty rumor that La Loma was closing. Glad to hear they were just moving. I attended a Lone Tree Chamber meeting last Summer so knew about Skyridge restaurant, but had no idea they were connected with La Loma. With all that said, pinning this casserole! Yum.

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    Replies
    1. No such thing! I think they should be around at least another 40 years! Thanks Lea Ann!

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  9. Oh yum! This casserole is making my mouth water!

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  10. Nice casserole Abbe...I love all in one dish. It sure looks so tasty...
    I hope you are having a great week :)

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  11. A good Mexican restaurant is worth its weight in gold, Abbe. How lucky that you have one that you like so much. Your casserole sounds fantastic and I agree with your suggestion for using it as a dip. I've some Hatch chiles in the freezer waiting for their raison d'ĂȘtre. I think I may have just found it. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Try it with Hatch John! I bet it will still be great!

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  12. Having grown up in Texas, I love Mexican food and I know I would enjoy your casserole.

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  13. Love, love, love it!!! Sounds like a holiday dish to me! :)

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