I love to cook with the seasons, and here in Ottawa, Canada, my favourite time is August and September, when the local markets abound with beautiful fresh corn. A bit less frequently I find poblanos, jalapeños and tomatillos, but when I do, this is the first recipe I make. If I was in Mexico, this would be a frequent item at the table, but in Canada, it’s a special treat.
This recipe is pretty simple to make… the hardest thing to do is to roast the poblanos. I know people who skip this step and use the peppers just as they are, but I think roasting them adds a subtlety of flavour, a smokiness that adds a whole other dimension to the dish. You decide what you want to do, but either way, it is a delicious and decadent dish. Pair it with flour tortillas for an experience out of this world. Taco night elevated to a higher plane, if I may venture to say.
In a pinch, you can make this with frozen corn, but if you have fresh cobs, it is way more delicious. The cheese we would use in Mexico is a fresh queso fresco, not salty at all, and almost a bit squeaky when you chew. That is the perfect cheese. In Canada, it is not very easy to find, so use Italian Tuma cheese (which is also a very fresh cheese), or Feta - both of those work great. Adjust your salt levels accordingly.
One last thing to mention is that this dish can be very mild, or it can be very, very spicy. It will depend on your poblanos. In Canada, they never seem to be spicy, but for you, it will vary depending on where you are and where the peppers come from. Either way, creamy, spicy or not, slightly sweet and smoky make a truly delicious taco. Yum.
RAJAS POBLANAS CON QUESO
Creamy Poblano Strips with Cheese, Corn and Crema
3-4 poblano chiles (about 2 cups roasted strips)
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 Spanish onion, julienned (about 2 cups)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ears of corn, kernels removed with a knife (about 3 cups)
1 cup queso fresco, Tuma or Feta cheese, cut into 1/2” cubes
1/4 cup crema, crème fraîche or sour cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
A few epazote leaves, optional
Roast whole poblanos over an open flame, either on your stovetop, on the BBQ or under the broiler, turning often, until the skins are pretty blistered and black. Place in a bowl and cover with a plate and let them sweat for about 10 minutes. Remove the stem, seeds, veins and skins, and then cut them into thin strips.
In medium sauté pan over medium high heat, melt butter and add onion and peppers, and cook until onion is soft. Add garlic and corn and cook for another minute, until garlic is fragrant.
Add crema and whipping cream and bring mixture to a boil. Cook until reduced and thick, then cheese. Season with salt and pepper and epazote, if using. Mix gently to combine.
Serve warm with tortillas. This is also delicious as a side for your favourite steak.
For Step by Step images, check out my album on Facebook - The Cultural Kitchen.