Get in the habit of buying fresh poblanos and you'll always have the option of whipping up a batch of Rajas.
Rajas are roasted poblano strips drenched in a creamy sauce and they are one of Mexican cuisine's most common side dishes.
I typically add potato and some stock to make them a bit more hearty, but you can consider both of those items optional as they are traditionally served without them.
Don't sweat the details too much the first time you make these. It's the roasted poblanos and cream that do all the work, everything else is just a bonus.
For a medium-sized skillet you'll need about 1.5 pounds of poblanos -- this is roughly 6 peppers.
As you might have guessed, we're going to start by roasting them!
Plop them in a 400F oven for 20-30 minutes and you're good to go.
Here's what this batch looked like after 25 minutes in the oven:
Once they cool down, pull off as much skin as you can.
I'm a little more picky with the skin for Rajas as it can affect the final texture of the dish, i.e. you probably don't want huge pieces of skin in your Raja bites. I usually try to roast the poblanos long enough so that I can peel off most of the skin by hand.
If you're adding potatoes to your Rajas it's worth parboiling them while the poblanos are roasting. They'll need a longer cook time than the other veggies so giving them a headstart will prevent an extended final simmer.
I used a Gold potato here but you can get away with just about any variety for this recipe.
Add the cubed potato to a salted pot of boiling water and cook for 4-5 minutes. It's worth biting into them occasionally -- ideally you take them out just before they are cooked through as they'll finish cooking in the final simmer of the Rajas.
Okay, time to saute a finely sliced onion in a tablespoon of olive oil. I also add a knob of butter but that is optional.
As this cooks you'll have time to slice up the roasted poblanos, but definitely give them a few minutes to cool off before handling them.
After removing the stems and seeds, slice them into thin strips lengthwise and then cut them in half -- this should give you bite-sized pieces.
Once the onions have softened and are starting to brown, 7-8 minutes or so, add 2 cloves of minced garlic and let the garlic cook for 30-60 seconds. Add the poblano strips and cook briefly until everything is at a uniform temp.
Now it's time to add:
1 teaspoon of salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup stock
Don't forget that the stock is optional; you can use all cream if you want, anywhere from 3/4 cup to 1 cup will do the job.
Once the liquid is simmering add the potatoes.
Combine well and let it simmer for 5 minutes or so. The potatoes will probably need another couple minutes to finish cooking but beyond that it doesn't take much time for all the flavors to meld together.
Proper seasoning really seems to make this dish come alive so definitely give a final taste for salt level. I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch.
While this is typically served as a side dish, the addition of the potatoes and stock can quickly turn it into a meal. In other words, feel free to eat it directly from the pan!
You can also make some on-the-fly tacos with it. Simply add the Rajas to warm corn tortillas, give them a healthy dose of cheese, and dinner is served.
However you end up serving them, these Rajas are a great dish to add to your kitchen repertoire. You get so much flavor from so few ingredients.
But don't forget to roast those poblanos. Have I mentioned that yet?!!
Okay, the Rajas recipe box is below. And that brings us to the end of the Poblanos Module, so it's Quiz time! In the Module table below, simply click on 'Poblanos -- Quiz! to move on to the next page.
Rajas: Creamy Poblano Strips with Potatoes
- 6 poblano peppers (approx. 1.5 pounds)
- 1 onion
- 1 potato
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
- Cotija cheese (optional)
- Give the poblanos a good rinse and then roast them in a 400F oven for 20-30 minutes. I usually flip them over halfway through the roasting period.
- Finely cube a potato and add it to salted, boiling water in a saucepan over high heat. Cook for 4-6 minutes or until the potatoes are 'al dente', still slightly firm and not quite cooked all the way through.
- When the poblanos are done roasting let them cool down for a few minutes and then remove as much skin as you can. De-stem and de-seed the poblanos. Cut them lengthwise into strips and then cut the strips in half; you'll end up with bite-sized poblano strips.
- Thinly slice an onion and saute it in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. I also added a tablespoon of butter but this is optional.
- Cook the onion until soft and just starting to brown, approx. 7-8 minutes. Add 2 minced cloves of garlic and give the garlic a brief saute, 30 seconds or so. Add the poblano strips and cook briefly until everything is at a uniform temp.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt, some freshly cracked black pepper, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 1/2 cup of stock. (Note: you can skip the stock and use all cream if you want, anywhere from 3/4 cup to 1 cup of cream will do the job.)
- Once the liquid is simmering, add the parboiled potatoes. Combine well and simmer for another 5 minutes or so.
- Take a final taste for seasoning. I added another generous pinch of salt to this batch.
- Serve immediately as is or you can create some on-the-fly tacos. For tacos, simply add the Rajas to warm corn tortillas and top with Cotija cheese.