I recently spent a good two weeks eating my way through Oaxaca, Mexico: sampling complex moles, stunning tamales, and more chocolate than is probably right. But the meal I ate the most often was from a simple taqueria that dished out tacos de rajas con crema, or tacos with roasted poblano strips, cream, and a little cheese. They were utterly simple, and yet satisfying in the way that the best mac cheese can be. You know, if you like your mac and cheese with a little heat, which I'm certainly guilty of.
I've been looking valiantly for a proper recipe to replicate that magic, and I think I've found it with this one from The Other Side of the Tortilla. Though the bulk of this dish is built on chiles, the result is not overly spicy. Sure, there is a little heat, but poblanos mostly tend to be in the medium to mild range (green bell peppers are not a worthy substitute). Though you can occasionally run across a more a aggressive batch, much of the kick is balanced by the cream and the cheese, which also help to add a rich and luxurious body. These may be vegetarian tacos, but they're bold and filling.
- 5 poblano chiles
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 5 ounces Mexican crema
- 1/2 cup Chihuahua cheese, shredded
- Kosher salt
- 12 fresh corn tortillas
Char the poblanos directly on top of the gas burner on your stove, rotating them often until most of the skin is blistered and black. If you don't have gas burners, char the poblanos on a tray underneath the broiler. Transfer each to a plastic bag and let steam for 15 minutes. Rub off the skin, remove seeds and stems, and slice into strips about 1/4 inch thick 2 inches long.
Melt butter in a 10-inch stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until it just begins and change color and caramelize. Add the poblano strips and stir well. Cook, stirring often, until they are slightly wilted, about 2 minutes.
Pour in the crema, stir well, and cook until the cream has reduced into a thick sauce, about 2 more minutes. Reduce heat to low and sprinkle in the cheese. Keep stirring until all the cheese has melted. It should almost disappear into the sauce. Season with salt to taste
Serve with warm corn tortillas.