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Ingredients

  • 5 poblano peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 Cup Mexican crema fresca
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Roast the peppers on top of a burner until they're black on all sides. Remove and place in a plastic bag for 10 minutes to "sweat." Peel the thin layer off, remove seeds and veins, and julienne.

In a medium saucepan, heat up the oil, add the onions, and sweat them until translucent. Season with salt. Add the julienned poblanos and sweat for 3-5 minutes. Season with salt again. Remove from heat and add 2 cups of crema fresca.

Nutritional Facts

Servings4

Calories Per Serving265

Folate equivalent (total)25µg6%

Riboflavin (B2)0.2mg12.3%


Rajas con crema (Charred poblano pepper strips with cream)

When I was a kid growing up in the Inland Empire, my idea of Mexican comfort food was a flour tortilla plucked from a plastic bag, lined with one square of American cheese and zapped until bubbly in the microwave.

Now, as a third-generation Mexican American woman living in Mexico City, I’m slowly getting to know the foods of my ancestors. My new comfort food -- what I choose to cook at home most days of the week -- is a dish I never knew as a child: guisado.

The word guisado is an umbrella term for a stewed mixture, usually meat or vegetables simmered in chile sauce or tomatoes. Most guisados contain a short list of ingredients (they’re not like moles), but when done well, they’re unforgettable. Chile sauces coax out the flavors of the meat. Vegetables, mixed with garlic and onion and broth, taste like the universe intended them to: hearty and unadorned.

The most interesting thing about guisados is how all-encompassing they are. Like a Chinese stir-fry or an American casserole, a guisado can really be anything, as long as it’s served with tortillas.

“They’re really just home braises,” says Armando De La Torre, owner of Guisados restaurant in Boyle Heights, which carries 15 guisados daily served with the requisite tortillas. “The ingredients are readily available anywhere around town. I make my mom’s carne con chile colorado, which was my favorite meal growing up. Even today she asks me what I want for my birthday, and I say carne con chile colorado.”

For me, guisados were a gateway into the richness of interior Mexican cuisine. At fondas, or at stands on the street, I’d see women scooping vegetables from clay pots. When I finally worked up the courage to ask for a taco in my halting Spanish, the taste was a revelation.

Under the guidance of my local market vendors, who gave me detailed cooking instructions, I started whipping up my own one-pot guisados: oyster mushrooms with chipotle, native tender greens called quelites with tomatoes. Even chili, the thing I used to eat canned, became a homemade " guisado de pavo molido con frijol,” or ground-turkey guisado with beans.

My crowning moment as a cook came six months ago, when I bought a bag of quelites at my local market. A Mexican woman asked me how to prepare them.


Rajas con Crema

Heat all of the oil except 1 ½ tbsp in a skillet, make a slit on each chile, and fry the chiles in the oil, turning them until completely blistered, set aside. Alternative method is fire roasting. Anaheim peppers can be used as a substitute if poblano chiles are not available.

Slice the onions finely. When the chiles are no longer hot, peel them and discard the seeds and stems. Slice the poblano chiles lengthwise into strips ½” thick.

Heat 1 ½ tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion just until soft, do not brown.

Reduce the heat to medium low, add the chile strips (rajas), the crema and the queso fresco. Cook until the crema gets thicker and heated through, about 5 minutes. Taste and season with salt.

Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.

Recipe reprinted with permission © 2021 Iliana de la Vega


Rajas con queso (Pronounced ra-HAS con KAY-so) is a taco filling made with fresh Poblano chile, a mild green chile typically used for chiles rellenos, rajas, and crema de poblano. This dish is served throughout Mexico.

Rajas con Queso on Corn Tortillas

Fresh Poblanos are the foundation of the dish.

Fresh Poblano Chiles

How to Make

Ingredients:

  • The meat from 10 roasted and peeled Poblano chiles
  • 1 large white onion
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup crema Mexican cream
  • ¾ cup shredded Oaxaca or asadero cheese
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • Salt to taste

To prepare Rajas con Queso, start with the meat of 10 roasted, peeled and cleaned Poblano chiles. Poblanos need to be roasted and peeled before cooking to remove the tough outer skin.

Poblano Chiles: Roasted, Peeled and Cleaned

Rajas or “Strips”

Rajas just means strips in Spanish. The name of the dish translates as “strips with cheese.” To prepare the dish, you cut the chiles into 2″ by ¼″ strips. You will also cut the onion into 2″ by ¼″ strips.

Poblano Chile Cut Into Strips

Everything You Need

Here are all of the ingredients you need to prepare Rajas con Queso: chiles, onion, garlic, corn, asadero cheese, and Mexican cream.

All the Ingredients to Make Rajas con Queso

Cooking the Dish

All of the vegetables are fully cooked before adding the cream or cheese.

The Vegetables are Fully Cooked Before Adding the Cream and Cheese.

The cream and cheese are added after you have turned off the heat to keep it from clumping. The cream is added first.

Add the Cream to The Vegetables.

Stir until the cream is blended well.

Stir the Cream Into the Rajas Until Mixed Well

Add the grated asadero cheese, Oaxaca cheese, or cheese of your choice.

Add the Grated Asadero Cheese to the Mixture

Stir and until the cheese melts and is fully incorporated into the dish.

Stir Until the Cheese Is Melted and Blended Well

Serve the Rajas con Queso immediately on fresh, hot corn tortillas.

Tacos de Rajas con Queso


How to Make Rajas con Crema

Roast the poblanos: Place the poblanos in the oven and broil for 5 minutes on both sides, until the skin is blackened and blistered. Alternatively, you can roast them over an open flame on a gas stove or a grill.

Leave them to sweat: Once roasted, loosely cover the poblanos with aluminum foil or plastic wrap to trap the heat and allow the peppers to steam. Let them to sit for 5 minutes. Afterward, use your fingers to pull and rub off as much of the loose skin on the peppers as possible (it doesn’t have to be perfect).

Cut into strips: Cut the poblanos into thin or thick strips and set aside. I removed most of the seeds, but you can leave them in for some added spice if you prefer.

Saute onions and garlic: Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once it’s melted, add the onions and cook for 5 minutes. Next, add in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

Mix it all together: Add the roasted poblano pepper strips, Mexican crema, and salt to the skillet and stir together. Cook for 2 minutes before adding in the shredded Oaxaca cheese. Stir together until the cheese completely melts, then remove from the heat and serve immediately in warm tortillas or with tortilla chips.


Step by step recipe

Thoroughly wash the peppers, dry them with kitchen paper and roast them on a griddle or a comal. They can also be roasted in the oven or even directly on the stove flame.

Once the peppers are roasted, place them in a bag, close and wrap them with a kitchen towel to allow them to sweat (the skin will come off more easily). Let them sit for 20 minutes.

Peel the peppers, you can use a paper napkin to clean them and make it easier to remove all the black parts. Discard the seeds and the stem and cut them lengthwise into strips. Set aside.

In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil and butter. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes over medium heat until the onions will be tender and translucent.

Add the poblano slices and corn. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and sauté for a minute.

Add the cream and the vegetable broth. Mix well and simmer over low heat for about 5 minutes or until onion and peppers are tender and the sauce has thickened. Adjust salt and pepper.

Add the cheese and mix quickly until it melts. Transfer to a serving plate and serve immediately.


Char The Poblano Peppers: Start off by charring the peppers. You can do so by roasting the chili peppers directly over the flame of a gas stove set to medium, grilling them on a medium heat grill, placing them under a hot broiler, or on a traditional comal. Regardless of the method roast them until skin is completely charred and blackened all over.

Once the chilis are charred, place them in a bowl and cover them with a plate large enough to cover the bowl. Set the chilis aside and let stand until they've steamed a bit and are cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Use a folded over paper towel or the back of a butter knife to rub off charred skin (it's okay if you don't get every last bit).

Remove the tip and stem of the poblano chilis then open them up and cut out the light green ribs and remove all the seeds. Slice the poblanos into strips roughly 1/4-inch thick and 3 inches long (it's okay if they're not all that exact length).

Saute The Onions: Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown, about 12 minutes.

Add the Mexican oregano and the poblanos, add a pinch of salt, and cook until the peppers are just soft and the whole mixture is fragrant, about 3 minutes.

To finish, add a splash of liquid (broth or water) and scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan then stir to combine it all. Remove from heat, taste and add more salt as needed.

Stir in the crema and serve as a side dish with tostadas, as a taco filling, or combined with cheese in a quesadilla.

Footnotes

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More Mexican Recipes On Salt & Wind Travel


How to Make Rajas Poblanas (Roasted Poblano Strips in Cream Sauce) &ndash The Recipe Method

First, roast your awesome poblano peppers over your stove top flame until, rotating often, until the skins char and blister up, about 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can bake them in the oven until the skins blacken and blister, about 15 minutes. See the information below on how to roast poblano peppers.

Cool and set the peppers into a plastic bag to steam. This will help loosen the skins. Most times I can just peel the skin right off without steaming.

Peel the charred skin from the roasted poblano peppers and slice them into strips about ¾ inch thick.

Next, heat a large pan to medium heat and melt the butter.

Add the onion and cook about 5 minutes, until the onion strips are translucent and soften up.

Add the poblano pepper strips and cook another minute, stirring.

Swirl in the crema and stir to incorporate.

Stir in the melty cheese a bit at a time, constantly stirring, until it melts through.

Add the seasonings and stir. Reduce the heat and let the mixture warm for about a minute or so, stirring here and there.

I served mine on warmed corn tortillas, but you can just eat them right out of the pan, or maybe over rice. Very delicious!


1. Preheat grill to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Roast poblano peppers and ears of corn over grill for 10 minutes, charring evenly.

3. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

4. Slice the peppers into long narrow strips.

5. With a knife carefully remove kernels from corn. Set peppers and corn aside.

6. Warm canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic cook and stir for about 5 minutes or until onion is transparent.

7. Add sliced peppers, corn, and both creams to pan. Cook and stir everything together for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Taco Assembly

1. Place taco filling on tortillas and evenly top with Oaxaca cheese, and sour cream.


Rajas con Crema

Rub peppers with 1 tablespoon oil, then use a grill, broiler, or gas stovetop burner to cook peppers, turning occasionally, until well charred, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

Rub charred skin from peppers. Remove stems and seeds and cut peppers into 1/4-inch strips. Set aside.

In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 1/4 cup oil. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add peppers and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers and onion are very tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add crema, corn, and broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to maintain simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is thickened and saucy, about 20 minutes.

Add cheese, stirring until it melts, and more salt to taste. Serve with tortillas. Serves 4 to 6.

Note: You can substitute canned roasted poblano strips for the fresh ones—you’ll need about 2 3/4 cups (drained).



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