Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Roasted Poblanos in Cream Sauce (Rajas con Crema)

As some of you surely know, I am on a spicy kick this year. Not only does spicy food speed up your metabolism, it tastes damned good, too! I have made this a few times and it pairs wonderfully with roasted chicken or steak.

Mexican Crema will be in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store – where Goya and other products are located. It’s not in the refrigerated section – which makes it a wonderful pantry staple! I often use it in place of more expensive crème fraîche.

Roasted Poblanos in Cream Sauce (Rajas con Crema)
Courtesy of
Serves 6-8

6 fresh poblano chiles
1 tbsp butter
½ white onion, sliced lengthwise (root to tip), 1/4-inch slices
½ tsp salt
½ cup Mexcian crema (Mexican sour cream) or crème fraîche
½ cup milk
½ cup grated Monterey Jack cheese

Char the whole poblano chile peppers on all sides. The best way to do this is over an open flame of a gas stove. Just place the raw whole chile peppers directly on the grate covering the flame and let the flame blacken the outside skin of the peppers. When one side has blackened, use tongs to turn the chile over a little so the flame can blacken another side. You can also use a broiler to blacken the chile peppers, but direct flame is the best way. Sometimes with a broiler the chiles end up cooking too much before they blacken. They should still be a little firm. This is easier to control when you cook them directly over flame. Once the peppers are blackened all over (you can still have a few green spots), place them in a paper bag or a thick plastic bag, close the bag, and let the chiles steam in their own heat for a few minutes.

When the chiles are cool to touch, remove them from the bag. Working over a sink (this part is messy) use your fingers or a damp towel to strip off the blackened parts. Try to avoid running the chiles themselves under water, as that may wash away some good flavor. But you may find it easier to rinse your hands with water as you are stripping the blackened bits off.

Editor’s Note: I don’t have a gas stove *cringe* so I roast the peppers in the oven on a foil-lined sheet or pan at 400˚. Turn them every 15 minutes until thoroughly charred. Then just fold the foil up and over them to let them steam a bit until cool to the touch. Peel.

Once the blackened outer skin is removed, open up the chiles and cut out and discard the stems, seeds, and inner veins. Cut the chiles into long strips, about an inch wide. Many recipes call for thin strips, about a half inch wide, which you can do if you want. I just like them with thicker strips. Set aside.

Heat the butter (can use vegetable oil instead if you want) in a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the poblano chiles to the onions. Sprinkle the chiles with salt. Add the Mexican crema and the milk. Gently stir to coat the chiles. Let cook for several minutes, until the chiles are completely cooked through and the sauce is bubbly and a little reduced, then sprinkle in the grated jack cheese. Stir with the hot crema sauce until the cheese has melted and mixed in with the crema sauce.

Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas (or as a side dish).

Picture courtesy of – I completely forgot to take a picture of this when I made it. By the time I thought of it, I’d slathered it all over chunks of Twelve Hour Roast Pork and, well, while it tasted amazing it did not look terribly appetizing!

For a printable version of this recipe, please click here.

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