Rajas con Crema
Roasted poblano peppers must be one of the best flavors in the world. There are a lot of delicious peppers out there, but for me, poblanos are unrivaled. Unfortunately, it can be really difficult to get that amazing flavor to come through in a meal. It is a delicate aroma which is easily destroyed or overpowered. A whole bunch of peppers added to a dish sometimes leads to nothing more than an extra bit of green. Thankfully, in rajas con crema we have found a solution. This dish manages to capture that delicate, elusive flavor and let it dance across your palate.
The word rajas translates to strips, and that’s what this dish is, thin strips of roasted poblano peppers, simmered in Mexican crema with onions and a bit of cheese. As it simmers, the crema takes on the flavor of the peppers, and something truly magical is created.
Give this a shot on your next meatless Monday, and it may just find its way to Taco Tuesday as well. And Wednesday. And Thursday. And… you get the picture.
Rajas con Crema
8 poblano peppers
1 small white onion
1 cup Mexican crema
½ cup Monterey jack cheese
1 tsp chili powder
Salt, to taste
Char the outside of the poblanos. You can do this over the burner of a gas stove, on the grill, or under a broiler. You want them to be very blistered, and char doesn’t hurt anything. Do this first, and then set them aside to cool a while.
Once the chilies are cool enough to touch, you can peel the skin off. Do your best to get it all, and then slice off the stems and any internal fibers remaining. Try to scoop out as many of the seeds as you can. They won’t hurt anything, but they detract from the texture of the dish.
When your chilies are all peeled, slice them into ¼” to ½” strips lengthwise. Then slice these strips down to around 3” in length.
Slice your onion into quarters and then slice the quarters into ¼” to ½” strips to match the chilies. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the onion. Cook for around 5 minutes, until lightly browned.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the peppers and crema, and allow to simmer for another 4-5 minutes. If you cannot find Mexican crema where you are, you can use a combination of milk and sour cream. Crema tastes like cream, it doesn’t have the soured aspect, but is somewhere between whipping cream and sour cream in terms of consistency.
After the peppers, onions, and crema have had a chance to meld together a bit, add your cheese and chili powder. The cheese should quickly melt and slightly thicken the sauce. Add salt now as well.
Serve with warm corn tortillas, cilantro, diced onion, and spicy hot sauce.