Enchilada Au Gratin with Roasted Anaheim Peppers + Kale Roasted Salsa

I absolutely love Au Gratins and this Enchilada Au Gratin is undeniably irresistible, to say the least!  Au Gratins are normally considered a side but I think it’s the perfect entree served along with a fresh side salad.  It’s also amazing for breakfast, just cut a portion into small squares, place in a hot pan with a drizzle of olive oil or dab of butter.  Turn it a few times allowing it to become a little crispy.  Top it off with kale roasted anaheim poblano salsa for a little heat and oh man is it ever delicious!

Enchilada Au Gratin

My mom paid Robby and I a visit before leaving on her next adventure.  My mom and her boyfriend Clyde are leaving for Panama in the beginning of December and are returning in May.  They will be living on a catamaran sailboat that Clyde recently purchased and are going to sail around the Panama area and enjoy winter in the sun.  I am so excited for them!  My mom’s visit was a short three-night stay, but I was stoked to spend some quality time prior to her leaving for her five-month journey!

 Robby and I wanted to show her a great time before she left for South America.  On Friday my mom and I had lunch among the redwoods in Ben Lomond at one of our favorite Italian restaurants “Casa Nostra“.  We both had the Kale salad with their homemade focaccia bread.  That evening Robby suggested that we have dinner at Ella’s at the Watsonville airport.  It’s a fairly new restaurant that Robby discovered in the local Aptos newspaper.  The food is incredible and the pizza is the best we have had in all of Santa Cruz County.

Enchilada Au Gratin

On Saturday we had lunch at the Bittersweet Bistro where I often order the Au Gratin with a side salad and fresh tomato slices.  It’s sooo good!  After lunch, we ventured off to the Natural Bridges State Park to check out the Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve.  The Monarchs are there from October to February.  I could watch them all day!  Then we did a little wine tasting and shopping at the Swift Street Courtyard.  Needless to say, we spent Saturday evening at home.

 Sunday was my mom’s last day so we took her to a fairly new Italian restaurant named Gioconda for a nice Sunday brunch.  I have wanted to try this restaurant for quite a while so I was really excited!  We were in shock at how amazing the food was.  It is definitely one of the best restaurants in Santa Cruz!  Robby couldn’t stop talking about the Parmesan chicken potpie he ate.  My mom loved her frittata and I had a simple yet incredible arugula salad with raw artichoke, pomegranate seeds and shaved pecorino with a side of thinly sliced roasted potatoes.  Oh, and of course, some Prosecco was in order!  We spent the last few hours exploring the Santa Cruz Arboretum up near UCSC.  So, if you are ever in Santa Cruz, I recommend all the links above!

Enchilada Au Gratin

I like this au gratin with a crisp Pinot Gris or a grapefruity Sauvignon Blanc, which might seem strange but it works!  Obviously, a Mexican beer would be great too!


Enchilada Au Gratin Recipe:
8 – 10 servings
Au Gratin
  • 2  Pounds. Yellow Potatoes – 1/8 inch slices
  • 5 Anaheim Peppers – roasted – deseed – destemmed – diced
  • 2 1/4 Cups Jack Cheese – grated (for sauce) + 1 Cup (for layering) (about 12 oz.total)
  • 1 Cup Kale – chopped
  • 1 Cup Cilantro – chopped
  • 1/2 Large White Onion – diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Cup Dry White Wine
  • 2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
  • 3 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour (or brown rice)
  • 2 1/2  Cups Milk (I used 1% organic)
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt – or to taste
  • 6 Sprouted Corn Tortillas
Kale Roasted Anaheim Poblano Salsa
  • 5 Large Tomatoes or 3 Pounds
  • 1/2 Onion – blanched
  • 2 Large Anaheim Peppers – roasted
  • 2 Small or 1/2 pound Poblano Peppers – roasted
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • 2 Cup Cilantro – leaves – packed
  • 2 Serrano – roasted (optional) – stem removed – cut into 4 or 5 pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt – or to taste


Salsa, Anaheim Pepper and Cheese
(you can make the salsa the day before)
 Wash the Anaheim, poblano and serrano peppers for the au gratin and the salsa and place on the baking sheet.

Core tomatoes, slice in half, cut an x on the bottom and place on a baking sheet.

 Slice onion in half, then cut each half into three pieces and place on baking sheet.

Turn the oven to broil.

Place baking sheet on the top rack and broil for about 6 – 8 minutes. (check at 6 minutes)  Turn peppers over and broil for 4 – 5 more minutes.

 When cool, take the skins off the tomatoes.  Remove the skins, cut off the stem and de-seed peppers.  (Leave the seeds in the serranos if you like it hotter)

Dice the five Anaheim peppers then set aside for the au gratin.

 Put the garlic in a food processor or blender and pulse until minced. Then add the tomatoes, poblanos, the remaining two anaheim peppers, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, sea salt and blend to desired texture. I did about 10 – 15 pulses.

Divide the grated cheese into two bowls and set aside.
 Cilantro, kale, potatoes and corn
Wash the cilantro and dry completely with some paper towels.  Pick the leaves off the stems and measure.  If still damp, dry them more.  Set aside in a medium bowl.
Wash the kale and dry completely with some paper towels, chop into small pieces and mix with the cilantro.  Remove a 1/4 cup of the cilantro/kale mix and mix it with 1/2 cup of the jack cheese and set aside until the end of the baking process.
Defrost the corn completely and mix with the remaining chopped kale/cilantro mix. Set aside.
 Slice potatoes into thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick).  Add potatoes to a large pot and cover with water then bring to a boil, continue to boil for 2 minutes. (put a timer on)
 Drain potatoes in a colander, rinse with cold water.  Dry them with a kitchen towel or a paper towel.  Set aside.
Add the onions to a saute pan with olive oil and saute on medium-low heat for 5 minutes and add garlic, continue cooking for 5 – 7 more minutes until the garlic starts to brown.  Continue to check the onions and cook until soft.

 Add butter and salt.  When butter is melted, add and whisk in the flour for about 2 minutes.

 Slowly add milk a little at a time (this is important) while whisking constantly.  Continuing to stir, bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add the 2 1/4 cups of cheese a little at a time, stir until the cheese is completely melted.

 Add the diced peppers and mix in completely.  Cook until sauce thickens.


Preheat oven to 375

 Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 3-quart casserole dish.

Add a layer of potatoes (if you have some that are thicker than 1/8 inch place them on the outside and the thinner pieces in the middle), add a thin layer of sauce, evenly sprinkle on half of the kale/cilantro/corn mix and then a layer of corn tortillas (I used 2 whole and one split in half), then spread a thin coat of sauce and 1/4 cup of cheese.

Repeat once more then top with the remaining potatoes and sauce.

 Bake uncovered for 30 minutes on the middle rack.

 Cover with foil and bake for 20 more minutes.

Take out of the oven and evenly spread the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and the kale/cilantro mix on top and put back in the oven for 15 minutes uncovered until lightly golden and bubbly.

Let cool a bit before serving.


Health benefits:

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Anaheim is a rich source of vitamin C, a ½ cup provides over 100 percent required daily intake for adults. They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which helps skin and eye health. Anaheim contains phenols; flavonoids and capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation and promote weight loss. The bioflavonoids are powerful antioxidants and help strengthen blood vessels. They aid the immune system and contain vitamin E that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage and K, which increases bone mass more than any other pepper.


  1. says

    This Au Gratin looks so delicious, Steph. I specially love it because it serves with roasted Anaheim poblano Salsa!!! You are right this is good for every meal, and I would have it for breakfast in a heartbeat.

    P.S. Wow!!!! Your mom is so adventurous. So jealous of her trip 🙂

    • wavatarSTEPH says

      Thank you Pang, you’re so sweet! It is a super satisfying breakfast for sure! Yes, my mom is very adventurous to say the least! It’s because of her that I traveled at all! Well, with the exception Jamaica 😀

  2. Lynn | The Road to Honey says

    Wow! It sounds like you had a fantastic day with your mom Steph. I just got back from South America (Patagonia!) and already miss it (and the great weather. . .it’s their spring). It sounds like your mom has a fantastic adventure ahead of her. The big question is. . .are you going to visit her?

    And this au gratin. . .it looks absolutely heavenly. I can’t wait to serve it the next time my vegetarian friends come over for dinner (which will be soon since we just moved).

    • wavatarSTEPH says

      Thank you so much!!! My mom and I had a great time for sure! I don’t think I’ll be able to go this time but maybe next winter, I hope! Congratulations on your new home! It must feel good to be moved in! xO

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