While the rajas are easy to make, the poblanos do need to be roasted and skinned; this can be quite a fiddly process as the shape tends to be buckled and applying heat evenly is sometimes a bit of a challenge. I always roast the chillies by placing them straight on a gas flame and turning them with tongs until they are blistered all over; a kitchen blow torch is equally effective; an electric grill is the last resort as this method can overcook the chillies unless you keep a very careful and attentive eye on them.
If you cannot lay your hands on any poblano chillies, green bell peppers will do, with an extra sprinkling of chipotle chilli powder to supply some heat and smoke.
Chilli Strips with Cream – Rajas con Crema
Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish
450 g/1 lb poblano chillies
15 ml/1 tbsp olive oil
175 g/6 oz onions, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
2.5 ml/1/4 tsp chipotle chilli powder or to taste
5 ml/1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
225 ml/1/2 cup double/heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Warm corn tortillas, to serve (optional)
Hold the chillies over a gas flame with metal tongs, turning them regularly until the skin is blistered and blackened in places. Put them in a bowl, cover with a dry tea towel and leave them to cool. Peel off the skin, remove the stem and seeds and cut into strips about 1 cm/1/2 in wide.
Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan, add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring regularly, until wilted and just starting to turn golden. Sprinkle in the chipotle, oregano and some seasoning, and cook for a further minute.
Stir in the cream and chilli strips, turn the heat right down, and simmer very gently for ten minutes. Check the seasoning.
Serve immediately with warm corn tortillas.
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