Posted by: gbdub | August 1, 2010

Roasting Arizona – Rajas de Chile Poblano

Rick Bayless #3 – otherwise known as roasted peppers with onions and herbs. Rajas is Spanish for “strips”, but in Mexican cuisine it almost always means “strips of green chile”. Which is exactly what this delicious vegetable side dish is: fragrant and gently spicy poblano chiles, roasted over an open flame, then simmered with onions, garlic, herbs, and cream. Simple, not terribly pretty, but amazingly delicious. You’ll never want green bean casserole again. Okay, you will, but not as often.

This recipe also gives me the chance to demonstrate the all important skill of roasting fresh peppers – you’ll find roasted peppers to be delicious on their own and a great ingredient for southwestern cooking. They are also surprisingly good on burgers. Hopefully you’re better at peeling them than I am.

Ingredients. Note the Mexican crema and beef broth – you can use most any kind of cream and broth, and you could certainly go all cream or all broth. It really depends on your mood.

Roast the chiles over a hot flame. You want the skins blistered and blackened on all sides (note: this is what will happen to your skin (or at least your eyebrows) if you stand over the grill too long).

Once the chiles are roasted, place them in a bowl covered with plastic wrap (you could also stick them in a ziploc bag). This serves to steam them in their own heat and moisture, which loosens the skins.

When the chiles have cooled enough to handle, slice off the stems and remove most of the seeds. Rub off as much of the thin outer skins as you can. You’ll have to be much more gentle if you plan to use the chiles whole (for say chile rellenos), but for this application it’s okay if the chiles tear a little.

Slice the chiles into strips.

Chop your onion and fry in a little oil.

Let the onions start to brown nicely.

Add the chile strips and garlic to the skillet.

Cook for a couple minutes.

Add herbs, bay leaves, and  cream and/or broth. Stir well.

Simmer quickly, just to thicken up the sauce. Don’t simmer too long, or the chiles will get too soft.

And that’s all there is to it. Serve up with some grilled meat and you’re good to go.

Rajas de Chile Poblano

Adapted from Authentic Mexican


  1. 4 medium poblano chiles
  2. 1½ Tbl. vegetable oil
  3. 1 medium white onion, sliced ¼ in. thick
  4. 2 cloves peeled and minced garlic
  5. 2/3 cup Mexican crema, whipping cream, or broth (I like to use half crema and half chicken or beef broth)
  6. ½ tsp. dried herbs – thyme, oregano, and marjoram are a good mix
  7. 2 bay leaves
  8. salt, ~ ½ tsp.

Over a hot grill, roast the chiles, turning occasionally, until the skin is blackened all over. Remove from grill and place in a bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to steam and cool, about 15 minutes. Once cool, peel away the thin outer skin, then cut out the stems and seeds. Slice into ¼” wide strips.

In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Fry the onion, stirring often until it softens and begins to brown (7-8 minutes). Stir in the garlic and chile strips and cook an additional 2 minutes.

Add cream and/or broth, herbs, and bay leaves. Simmer a couple minutes over high heat, just until the sauce reduces to a coating for the vegetables (you don’t want soup here). Remove the bay leaves and season to taste with salt.

Makes ~1½ cups.

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  1. I was treated to this yummy side dish over Mother’s Day weekend this year. I must say I liked it better than green bean casserole. Another great recipe!

  2. That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Simple but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

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