Charred Rajas Con Crema Recipe

Nothing beats a  — that is unless you top it with this delicious, creamy charred rajas con crema. Fresh poblano peppers are charred over an open flame or under a broiler and are then sautéed with onions, garlic, and cream. It's a believed to originate from the Puebla region. "Rajas" means "strips" in Spanish, so the name simply means "strips with cream." Leah Maroney knows that sometimes the simplest recipes lead to the tastiest dishes.  Maroney shares, "Poblanos vary widely in level of spiciness, but no matter how spicy or mild, they're always super flavorful." That's how this dish is able to shine with such simple ingredients. The charred poblanos take center stage and the onions and garlic accentuate their flavor in the creamy sauce. 

Not only can you serve this over your favorite protein (we're thinking chicken and shrimp would be amazing), but it's also an excellent filling for . If you're looking for super comforting,  serve it over rice, so all the grains soak up the decadent crema and you won't waste a single drop.

We used heavy cream and Monterey Jack cheese in this recipe, but if you can find Mexican crema and Oaxaca cheese — definitely substitute with those for even more tried and true flavor. 

You'll need to use a broiler or an open flame to char the skin on the outside of the poblano peppers first. While the peppers are working their magic you will saute the onions and garlic with butter until they are soft.

The cream sauce is then made in the same pan with chicken bouillon, heavy cream, and Monterey Jack cheese. While we highly suggest using chicken bouillon in this recipe (it has SO much flavor!), you can substitute the bouillon and water with chicken broth. Then the peppers and onions are added back into the sauce to complete the dish. Other than all that, you'll just need some salt and pepper to season the dish.

Add the poblano peppers to a large baking sheet and place them under your broiler until the skin blisters, turning halfway (about 3 minutes per side).

Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a bowl. Then immediately cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 10 minutes.

While the peppers are steaming, slice the onion thinly.

Mince the garlic finely. 

Once the peppers have steamed, remove them from the bowl and peel away the charred skin.

Remove the seeds and stems from the peppers and cut them into strips.

Add the butter to a cast iron skillet and heat on medium high heat.

Sauté the onions and garlic with salt and pepper until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. 

Add the peppers to the skillet and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove the peppers and onions from the skillet. Add in the chicken bouillon, water, heavy cream, and Monterey Jack cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted.

Add the peppers and onions back into the skillet and stir until the mixture has thickened (about 3 minutes).

Serve the peppers and onions with your favorite protein and rice and beans. You can also serve it in warm tortillas or with chips.

While you can make rajas con crema ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days, we don't advise freezing this dish. The cream sauce does not freeze or reheat well after freezing. The onions also tend to lose some of their texture and flavor once they've been frozen. But you can definitely store this sauce in the refrigerator. Just keep it in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in a skillet with a little water if needed. You can also roast the poblanos ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days until you are ready to prepare the rest of the sauce. 

This recipe makes a large amount of rajas con crema. We'd recommend serving it with chicken, steak, or shrimp the first day and using the leftovers to serve over rice or in tortillas the next day. It's a warm and comforting meal no matter how it's served. It also makes excellent filling for .

Yes, you can easily char the poblanos in an air fryer — no need to heat up the whole kitchen! An air fryer also requires less supervision than the broiler or open flame. Air fryers are such a great tool for quick and easy cooking.

Set your air fryer to 400 F and air fry the poblanos for 8 minutes, no turning necessary. , so add more or less time as needed. Use your best judgment based on how well you know your air fryer. Preheating isn't necessary, but you can certainly do it. This will cut down on the actual cooking time and may increase the char on the outside of the peppers.

Once the peppers are done in the air fryer, follow the remaining directions as you normally would and give them a steam. Make sure to do this step immediately, as the heat from the pepper is what helps loosen the skin.