This recipe is for all you cream sauce lovers. Rajas con crema is a winner – smoky, spicy chiles rounded by a simple rich cream sauce. And, it’s super easy to make, especially if you cheat and get your chiles pre-roasted.
The inspiration for this recipe came last month when I went to my friend Laura’s annual Mexican Independence potluck pachanga (party). That night I made my way to the food line one time too many – each time scooping a spoonful of rajas. Rajas con crema, literally translates to mean “slices with cream.” Aesthetically, it was the perfect dish for her party representing the colors of the Mexican flag, green and red from the roasted chiles and white from the onion. Gastronomically, it was scrumptious.
Here’s my version of rajas con crema using crema Mexicana, Mexican cream, to give it richness. It is thick and slightly acidic, definitely more decadent than regular sour cream.
I used roasted poblano chiles and, just to be sure it had enough kick, I also used a couple of roasted hot Hatch chiles. The ultimate result is a spicy creamy combo that is sure to please, either as vegetarian taco filling, a side with rice and beans or served on top of grilled chicken or steak (as pictured above).
Tidbits on Chile
- Chiles are believed to have originated in South America in an area bordered by the mountains of Brazil and Bolivia.
- Chile peppers are the most popular spice and condiment in the world, consumed daily by one-quarter of the world’s population.
- Raw green chile has more vitamin C than citrus fruits.
- Chile heat levels (capsaicin) is determined by a plant’s variety and the environment where it grows. The amount of capsaicin will increase under dry, stressful conditions.
Sources: Encyclopedia of Food and Culture and the Chile Pepper Institute of the University of New Mexico.
Poblano peppers are generally very mild, having more heat than a bell pepper but less than a jalepeno. However, they can occasionally have a kick, so make sure to taste and adjust accordingly. Crema can be found at Mexican grocery stores or in regular stores in the bulk fresh food section or near the cheese.
Rajas Con Crema: Green Chile in Cream Sauce
8 poblanos, roasted and deseeded
2 Hatch chiles, roasted and deseeded, optional
2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
1 medium white onion, sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine or vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup crema Mexicana
- Roast Chiles: Preheat your broiler; place chiles on a low rimmed baking sheet and broil for about 8 – 10 minutes. (You can also roast over an open flame on your stove or grill.) Use tongs to turn frequently allowing each side to blister and char. Watch them carefully. When chiles are completely roasted, remove and place in a gallon size plastic bag or, alternatively, place in a covered bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes. Remove the skins from all chiles; wear rubber gloves to protect hands and fingers, if they are sensitive. Cut each open and remove the stem and core, as well as any seeds. A knife is helpful to scrape seeds away.
- Slice roasted chiles into 1/4 inch slices; keep the poblanos separate from the Hatch chiles. At this point, taste how hot your chiles are and adjust using/not using the Hatch chiles (which are hotter).
- Slice onion in 1/4 inch slices. In a large skillet on medium-high heat, heat oil and sauté onion until golden brown and translucent. Add sliced chiles, garlic and salt. Sauté another 5 minutes. Add wine and cream; stir and reduce heat to simmer 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
- Serve hot as a filling for tacos, as a side or on top of grilled meat.
Wine: vegetable, chicken or beef stock.
Crema: crème fraiche or heavy cream