Rajas for Sunday Brunch
March 19, 2017
Having been given a bag of fresh poblano chiles, I was about to roast and freeze them for later use. And then I realized that there was no reason to wait. We could eat some of them today.
To roast the poblanos: You can do this in a 500 degree oven, under the broiler, or, if you have gas burners, on racks over the burners. (You can also do this on your barbecue, if you're firing it up for something else anyway.) Wash the poblanos then broil/grill them until the skins are charred black, turning with tongs to blacken all sides. Put the blackened chiles in a large bowl, cover with a plate, and leave for half an hour or so. This steaming process will loosen the skins and make the poblanos easier to peel.*
While the poblanos steam, dice some potatoes and cook in water (or steam) for five minutes, until not quite soft. Drain and set aside.
Slice an onion or two.
Now, for brunch: Peel the poblanos, using as little water as possible. I like to scrape off the blackened skins with the back (un-sharp) edge of a paring knife. The reason to avoid wholesale rinsing is that the water, or so I've read, will wash off a lot of the flavour as well. Cut off the stem end then make one cut the length of the chile and scrape out the seeds and veins; if it's heat you're looking for, then leave the veins and seeds. Otherwise, poblanos are not usually very hot. Slice each chile into long strips.
In a large skillet melt some fat**. Add the sliced onion and cook for five minutes on medium-low, or until softened. Scrape the onion to one side and put in the drained potato cubes, turning the heat to medium. Stir the onions occasionally to keep them from burning, but allow the potato cubes to crisp a bit.
Add the poblano strips to the onions and potatoes, along with a bit of salt. Cook over medium for a few minutes, then turn the heat to low and let it all simmer for ten minutes or so. Some people stir in sour cream at this point and heat just through.
And now, to add some protein to your brunch, crack one or two eggs per person on top of the rajas mixture and cover the pan to steam the eggs. Check after four minutes; depending on your burner it may take another minute or so to film the yolk and solidify the white.
*At this point, if you aren't planning to have rajas for brunch, you can pop the blackened poblanos into freezer bags (two or three to a package) and freeze them for later. The beauty of doing it this way is that you don't have to peel the chiles until you're ready to use them. This is particularly important if you're processing, say, a bushel of poblanos in the fall. Instead of peeling them as part of the freezing process, you wait and peel just a few at a time, as needed.
**Lard and bacon fat are my favourites for this, but you can also use olive oil and/or butter or even coconut oil if you are so inclined.