Finally a Rajas recipe!
Get in the habit of buying fresh poblanos and you'll always have the option of whipping up a batch of Rajas. These are roasted poblano strips drenched in a creamy sauce and they are easily 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.
Rajas Poblano Strips Recipe
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.
The key is to roast the poblanos first -- this will enhance and deepen their flavor. There are lots of ways to accomplish this but I usually take the most efficient (laziest) route. Plop them in a 400F oven for 20-30 minutes and you're good to go.
You could also char them over open flame or use the broiler.
Here's what this batch looked like after 25 minutes in the oven:
See all the wrinkled skin bits? Try to pull off as much of that as you can.
Also keep in mind that you'll frequently see people put the roasted poblanos in a sealed Ziploc to steam them up -- this loosens the skin and makes it easier to pull it off.
But here's the thing....that outer skin layer doesn't affect the flavor too much but it can shrivel up and add some unappealing texture -- so for a dish like this it's worth pulling it off. Other dishes like Poblano Soup simply blend the roasted poblanos together so it becomes less critical to remove all the skin.
I usually take the middle ground and skip the Ziploc step, but roast the poblanos long enough so that the majority of the skin pulls off easily.
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 seconds or so. Add the poblano strips and cook briefly until everything is at a uniform temp.
Add 1 teaspoon of salt, freshly cracked black pepper, 1/2 cup heavy cream and 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 Cotija 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! Let me know if you have any questions about that step -- it's a game-changer and easily the most important technique in the recipe.
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.
Got leftover Poblanos? Try making one of these poblano pepper recipes.
And our latest recipe is this delicious Horchata.