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i have a funny story about rajas. there's a small mexican grocery nearby us (we live in astoria, queens) and on weekends they have very good tamales. the best kind they've got is rajas con queso. last year xmas, we were making tamales at home -- it was our first time trying to make them -- and we went blithely into the store asking for "rajas"...

 

of course it just means "sliced". hilarity ensued, as you can imagine.

 

our tamales were OK, but nowhere near as good what we can buy for $1 at the store.

 

speaking of the cooking, last weekend my wife made some killer pozole, making the broth from pork neck bones. the apartment smelled heavenly the whole day while it was cooking, and the soup, with a chile paste made from pasilles de oaxaca, was amazing, and it was even better the next day. i think she improvised from a DK recipe.

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Oh, yum! That made me lick the screen.

If I weren't so shy, I'd love to participate......   Ha! Sounds great. Rajas are a fine idea as they also help with the whole charring issue. And rajas with cotija cheese on a hot fresh tortilla is

i have a funny story about rajas. there's a small mexican grocery nearby us (we live in astoria, queens) and on weekends they have very good tamales. the best kind they've got is rajas con queso. l

Count me in, please! I like the idea of starting w/poblanos. Maybe we could progress to stuffing? But rajas con creama y cebollas, or crema y queso suit me just fine.

 

Details of how to set this up ... ?

 

And you know, re AB and the chiles. There seems to be a something I call the vanilla ice cream test out there: like no matter what kind of freakin' flavors, cookie doughs, liqueurs, etc you put in it, if the basic ice cream isn't right, it just won't work. So charring your chiles and then washing them is a failed Vanilla Ice Cream test to me. I saw that show and was taken aback.

 

Theabroma

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I'm sorry to be late posting, folks, but I've been out of town for two days.

 

Start your engines, ladies and gentlemen: here we go.

 

A clarification: the 'H' in Spanish is always silent. The 'J' in Spanish is always pronounced like the English 'H'. Hence the Spanish word 'raja' is pronounced RAH-hah, with the stress on the first syllable.

 

Here's my recipe for

 

Rajas de Chiles Poblano con Cebolla y Crema

 

Ingredients

8 to 10 dark green chiles poblano. Buy chiles which are unshriveled, very fresh, and as flat on the sides as possible (for ease in charring).

1 large white onion

4-6 oz Mexican crema, if available, regular sour cream if not

Salt to taste

Vegetable or olive oil

 

Equipment

Griddle (comal, metal griddle, heavy skillet) I use a cast iron griddle.

Plastic bag

Cutting board

Sharp knife

Mixing bowl

Wooden spoon

Heavy heatproof casserole dish or similar container that will withstand stovetop heat

Plastic gloves, if you think you'll be sensitive to the possible heat of the chiles

 

Method

Wash but do not dry the chiles.

Heat griddle until a drop of water bounces and sizzles.

Begin to char as many chiles as will fit on your griddle. When one side of each chile is blistered and blackened, turn the chile to the next side. Be sure that all sides of each chile are well-charred. As one chile is done, remove it to the plastic bag, twist the top shut, and place another chile on the griddle.

 

When all chiles are charred, begin peeling them with the chiles from the bottom of the bag. Because they will have 'sweat' for 10 minutes or so in the plastic bag, the peels will slip off with relative ease. You won't need to use a knife; peel them with your fingers. Wetting your fingers may help. Most chiles poblano are not particularly picante, so peeling them should not cause problems with your fingers/hands. With a little experience, you'll be able to smell which of the charred chiles are the 'hot' ones and can use precaution when handling them.

 

NOTE: Do be careful about touching your eyes, mouth, and other sensitive parts after handling chiles. Wash your hands really well with soap and water before going to the bathroom...*ahem*. Your mother taught you about afterward, right?

 

NOTE!! Contrary to some people's opinion, do not rinse chiles at all. Rinsing causes them to lose some flavor.

 

If there are some few small bits of charred chile skin left on the chiles after you've peeled them, you'll enjoy the extra flavor.

 

Make a slit from the wide stem-end to the pointed end of a chile. Slice around the wide stem-end and remove the seed bundle and the stem end. If there are more seeds scattered over the inner flesh of the chile, wipe them off with your fingers or a dampened paper towel. Repeat until all chiles are seeded and de-stemmed.

 

Lay each chile flat—spread open—on the cutting board. Using the sharp knife, cut each chile into strips approximately 1/4" wide and as long as the chile is. If the chiles are very long, I sometimes cut each strip in half crosswise. Put all the chile strips into the mixing bowl and reserve.

 

Peel the onion and cut it into quarters crosswise and then into quarter-rounds approximately 1/4" wide.

 

Over medium-low heat in the heatproof casserole, sauté the onion slices in 1/4 cup vegetable or olive oil, stirring with the wooden spoon, until the onion is soft and translucent—even very slightly caramelized. Add the chile strips and continue to sauté over low heat for 5-10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the crema and salt to taste. Serve hot or at room temperature.

 

Serves 6 as a side dish.

___________________________

 

¡Suerte y provecho!

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Cristina! Thanks.

 

Okay folks. I vote we all head out and get the stuff and make these rajas sometime during the coming week.

 

Also might be fun if anyone else has any rajas preparation/methods they'd like to offer, and we can try several.

 

Cristina, I'm looking forward to fixing these. They sound wonderful! :lol:

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Here is a version of pickled rajas.

 

This particular recipe calls for 10-12 whole chiles (I like Anaheims for this). After you've cooked and steamed and peeled your chiles (just as Cristina says), make a slit in one side and carefully remove the seeds, leaving the stems intact.

 

Lay the chiles side by side, one chile deep, in a glass dish.

 

Combine marinade:

 

1 C vegetable oil

1/4 C olive oil

1/3 C white vinegar

1 t salt

1 t black pepper

1 T crushed oregano leaves (preferably Mexican)

1 T minced garlic

 

Reserving 2 T of marinade, pour remainder over chiles, seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours, or overnight.

 

Before serving, slice one white onion thinly. Blanch briefly. Toss with reserved marinade and ladle over chiles.

 

Serve as a relish or side dish with meats, etc.

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Can I add my weirdness? I hate sweating the chiles with a plastic bag. Perhaps I'm too in touch with my inner hippie but hot plastic and food creeps me out. I have placed the chiles in a bowl and put a cutting board on top, or even use paper bags, to fine effect. I'm sure the plastic is harmless but I did want to throw this out there.

 

As for grilling, I also wanted to add that nothing beats a BBQ! The skins just slide right off.

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Rancho, I know lots of folks that just fold the chiles up in a dishtowel. Works fine.

 

And I agree...I prefer the BBQ grill to the skillet. Adds that smoky taste. But in my case, all I've got is an electric stove.

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Can I add my weirdness? I hate sweating the chiles with a plastic bag. Perhaps I'm too in touch with my inner hippie but hot plastic and food creeps me out. I have placed the chiles in a bowl and put a cutting board on top, or even use paper bags, to fine effect. I'm sure the plastic is harmless but I did want to throw this out there.

 

As for grilling, I also wanted to add that nothing beats a BBQ! The skins just slide right off.

I put them in a med-small stainless mixing bowl, and cover with a glass plate.

 

I make the trek to the SF Ferry Building farmers market today to see Rancho Gordo. Beans and tortillas were the agenda. I asked him about roasting chiles directly over the flame on his stove -- I am sure that things must drip and leak onto the stove eye.

 

He swears they don't, but I did not believe him. (Sorry, Señor. You admit yourself that you do not necessarily notice these things.)

 

Can I really roast chiles over my stove eye?

 

I may entice Bob to fire up the grill, since the weather is heavenly sweet right now. I can roast everyone's chiles, if you want to come and pick them up.

 

(Another note. Should we not use mesquite charcoal, which is the norm around here?)

 

I'm as green as a chile. I can't believe I'm signing up to do this.

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I learned to make these rajas 25 years ago from an old friend of mine in Mexico City, Doña Ofelia Cruz, who lived near Metro San Juan Aragón. Doña Ofe was one of the best home cooks I've ever known. I've always used her method and have never been disappointed in the results. Guests at my home in Guadalajara rave and carry on about the rajas, and no matter how many chiles I prepare, there are never any left over.

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