roasting a poblano chili, and pollo en rajas!

I make a number of dishes that include roasted poblanos, or rajas.  People often ask me how to make the dishes, which includes a lengthy discussion on actually roasting and peeling the poblanos.

The poblano (Capsicum annuum) is a fairly mild chile originating from the State of Puebla, Mexico. When dried it is called an ancho chile. While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably a poblano can have significant heat. There is a secret, which I will disclose later on how to predict to some degree the heat of a poblano. 

Below you see a variety of poblano chilis.  Notice the ends of the chilis.   See how some are very pointy, and some are more rounded?  The pointier the chili, the more heat it has; the rounder the end, the less heat.


 To roast the poblanos you must get them directly on flame.  Some people use a comal, some a frying pan, but it just doesn't work as well as direct flame.  I would prefer to roast the chilis over a grill outside but alas the flames on my grill are to far from the grate and the peppers tend to cook rather than roast, or char.

And yes, you do want them charred dark like this all over, don't forget to turn them so that the stem ends get charred as well.


Once you have them charred all over you place them in a covered bowl for about 10 minutes to let the steam release the skins form the chilis.



After the charred chilis have steamed I like to plunge them in a cool water bath.  I find it easy to slip the skins while in water. Plus the chilis don't burn my hands with heat.  
I tend to not wear gloves when I peel the chilis, I do not recommend this.  My hands get quite hot and burning, however it really diminishes the stiffness from my arthritis.  You must be extremely cautious if you peel the poblanos bare handed, you can really hurt yourself if you touch tender sensitive other parts; eyes, etc.

 
Once you have the charred skins removed you need to seed and vein the chilis.  
I split the chilis and then just run a knife along the vein and remove it and any attached seeds. 


If you want to stuff the poblanos you need to either remove the top and slip out the seeds, or cut a slit in the side of the chili and remove the seeds.


I use roasted poblanos more as rajas than to stuff them.  So once I have them cleaned, veined, and seeded I slice them into strips.  I  always roasted extra and place the strips flat in multi-layers in a baggie, squeeze out the excess air and freeze.  Then when I want to use poblanos from the freezer they just break away and I can use some or all, depending on the recipe!



Another trick to diminish the heat even more, is after you have charred, and cleaned your chilis, place them in a bowl to soak for about 20 minutes with a bit of vinegar.  I'd say a tablespoon of vinegar per liter of water.

Below is a crowd pleasing favorite recipe:



Pollo en Rajas

1 - 1.5 k pechuga de pollo/chicken breast, cocida y desebrada (cook and shred)
4-6 chilis poblanos, se hacen se desvena y se cortan en rajas (Char, peel, seed and slice into strips)
1 cebolla blanca/white onion, grande, cortada en rajas, (peel, half, and slice into strips)
1 lata de grano de elote - quitar el liqido (1 can, drained whole kernel corn)
1 latita de media crema (sm box media crema)
sal y pimenta al gusto  ( salt and pepper to taste)

las rajas de cebolla se ponen al frier en un poco de aceite, se agrege los chiles, y se deja. Se agrega el elote, el pollo y sal y pimienta, cocido 5 minutos, se en lave esta mezcla la media crema, se dejo cocer por 7 minutos mas y se serve caliente
cook the onion strips in a bit of oil, just till transparent, stir in the chile strips, corn, shredded chicken, salt and pepper.  Cook 5 minutes - pour over this the box of media crema, cook about 7 more minutes to thicken and mix all the ingredients.  Serve hot.

I like this served over a plain pasta, although last time I made we discussed it and decided it should be prepared by adding 2-3 cups cooked, al dente, rotini pasta to be added about 3-4 minutes after the media crema.
Serve with a salad, or sauteed veggies.
This is a great potluck dish.  After it is prepared put it in a casserole, top with a bit of parmesan and brown for visual effect and take along.