Rajas con crema (poblano in cream sauce)

This is a fantastic side dish that we first encountered at a really great local Mexican buffet. It’s not hot, even though it’s mostly peppers.  It doesn’t take much time, but it can be broken down into multiple steps and the peppers prepped in advance if it makes your evening a little easier.

Ingredients

5-6 poblano peppers

1 small or medium white or yellow onion, sliced

1/2 cup crema (more on this later)

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded white cheese (whatever Mexican style white cheese you have, or mozzarella or monterey jack)

Garlic powder, salt and pepper

 

Method

Turn on your grill as hot as it will go. Grill off your poblano peppers until the skin is black and blistered (as seen below).

Grilled poblano

Mmmm… toasty

Once they’re done, either dump them in a zip-top bag, or a bowl with cling-wrap over the top.

Steamy!

Steamy!

While those steam for a few minutes, go ahead and put a skillet over medium heat.  Melt the butter and start sautéing your onions.

We need smell-o-vision.

We need smell-o-vision.

While those are breaking down, I would recommend grabbing some food-safe disposable gloves.  If you don’t have contacts, feel free to use your bare hands, but consider this a friendly warning.  Peel the skin off the poblanos (which should be much easier, because of the steaming action of the bag or wrap).  Seed the peppers until you have a nice pile of pepper flesh.

Must...eat...flesh!

Must…eat…flesh!

If you have a little skin that won’t come off of them, don’t stress about it.  You just want as much of it gone as is reasonably possible.  Slice those peppers into strips, then toss them in with the onions.

Mixing it up!

Mixing it up!

Let these sauté together for a few minutes until all of the veggies are soft, then add the milk, crema and cheese.  Now, a note on that crema-you could use standard sour cream. I imagine you could, at least.  I’ve never tried it, and that is because we have this.

OMG. Nom.

OMG. Nom.

This is from the nearby Mexican grocer, and is unbelievably tasty.  It is less solid than traditional American sour cream, more the consistency of a standard yogurt. It’s a little saltier than sour cream, and so great for this sauce.  We can find the green topped jar at our local Kroger, so see if you can find it, it’s really worth it!

Also nom.

Also nom.

Ok, now that your dairy is in, stir it in and season to taste.  I like a little bit of garlic powder, a good grind of pepper and salt to taste.

YUM!

YUM!

This may not look like much, but it is surprisingly tasty.  You get a great, slightly smoky poblano flavor that pairs really nicely with the moderately sweet onion and mildly salty sauce. If you’re pressed for time, you can grill of the peppers and peel, seed, and slice them in advance.  I bet you could even freeze batches of the peppers already sliced and ready to add to the onions, and make this a really fast, simple side dish.  Another note: this makes enough for two people with a ton of leftovers.  Save those leftovers, and the next morning, toss them into some scrambled eggs with a little bit of additional cheese. Serve with warm corn tortillas.

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