Creamy Roasted Poblano Rajas with Greens

Rajas Poblanas con Quelites
Some version of this dish has surfaced regularly on our menu at Frontera Grill for over three decades. It’s inspired by a dish—rajas con crema, roasted poblanos with caramelized onions and cream—that’s common wherever people sell the home-style tacos de guisados. About the dairy: While the crema, crème fraiche or heavy cream work like a charm, the sour cream and yogurt are trickier. If the pan is too hot when you stir either of them in, they can curdle. But clearly the leanest version of this dish would be made with nonfat yogurt, if that is important to you. Just know that it is the most prone to curdling; if you get it incorporated without curdling, the result is really quite delicious. On the flip side, you could leave out the dairy completely and, instead, add the salsa to the skillet as you heat everything together just before serving. The dish will lack that satisfying creamy texture—plus it will be spicier—but a lot of people like it that way. And if, for some reason, taco making doesn’t seem to appeal, this mixture can be turned into a great pasta dish.
Servings: 21/2 cups, enough for 10 tacos


  • 2 large fresh poblano chiles
  • 2tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 8-ounce bunch black Tuscan (aka dinosaur) kale, leaves stripped from central stalk, sliced crosswise about ½ inch OR about 6 cups (gently packed) leaves of lambs quarters (quelites de ceniza) or amaranth greens (quintoniles)
  • About 1/2teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 3/4cup Mexican crema, crème fraiche or heavy cream
  • Salt
  • 10 warm corn tortillas, for serving


Roast the poblanos over an open flame or close up under a preheated broiler, turning until blistered and blackened all over.  Let cool until handleable, then rub off the blackened skin, tear open and pull out the seed pod.  Rinse the poblano briefly to get rid of stray bits of blackened skin and seeds.  Cut into ¼-inch strips that are about 2 inches long.

In a large (10-inch) skillet over medium-high, heat the oil.  When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring regularly until lightly browned, 4 or 5 minutes, then add the garlic and stir continually for about 45 seconds, until fragrant.  Add the greens and ¼ cup water, cover (I use a cookie sheet) for a couple of minutes to wilt the greens.  Uncover, add the poblano strips, oregano and crema.  Keep cooking (it may be helpful to reduce the temperature to medium here) until the kale is tender and the crema has reduced enough to coat everything richly. Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 ½ teaspoon.  Serve with warm tortillas for making tacos.

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