If we talk about rajas, perhaps not everyone knows what we are talking about. But, if, on the contrary, we talk about chili, they are going to be nodding in agreement: today at Paulina Cocina we are going to talk about slices with cheese, those thin strips or slices of chile that are used in Mexican cuisine. Welcome!
Las rajas They are prized for their soft and juicy texture, as well as for the unique flavor they add to dishes. They are an important part of Mexican cuisine and while they can be an appetizer or a single dish, they are also used to add a touch of heat and complexity to other culinary preparations.
Characteristics that make rajas with cheese so special
Rajas con queso are a typical dish of Mexican cuisine, specifically from the Puebla region. Its origin is believed to date back to colonial times, when poblano peppers were grown in the region and combined with local cheeses.
The term “rajas” comes from Spanish and refers to slices or thin cuts, generally of poblano peppers. As we have already told in other recipes, for example that of Chiles en Nogada and of Creamy Green Spaghetti with Poblano Pepperthe poblano pepper has a slightly spicy flavor so let’s go without fear.
Las slices with cheese They are very versatile and can be used in a variety of ways. In addition to being served as a main dish, garnish, or filling, they can also be added to soups, rice dishes, tamales, or even as a topping on pizzas and hamburgers.
Although Oaxaca cheese is the most traditional to prepare the rajas, other types of cheese can be used according to personal taste. Some popular options include Chihuahua cheese, panela cheese, asadero cheese, or Manchego cheese. But as you can see, we always talk about cheeses with a lot of presence and special ones.
slices with cheese they are an excellent option for vegetarians, since they do not contain meat. They are a tasty and filling alternative for those who prefer to avoid animal products.
Poblano peppers, the star of rajas with cheese
To prepare the rajas, poblano chiles are used due to their mild and slightly spicy flavor. These chiles are roasted to remove the skin and then cut into strips. The seeds can be left in if you want a little more heat, or they can be removed for a milder flavor.
The chile strips are cooked in a sauce, which can be made from tomato, cream, chicken broth, or a combination of ingredients. Onion and garlic are also often added for added flavor. The sauce is cooked until the chiles are tender and the mixture has a thick consistency.
Spicy cheese slices: yes or no?
Let’s go back to the topic of spiciness. When we talk about chili we think of spiciness but the level of spiciness of the rajas can vary according to preferences. For a milder dish, remove the seeds and veins from the poblano peppers before cooking. For a spicier flavor, leave in some seeds or use hotter chilies, such as jalapenos.
Regardless of the chili used, you can soften the dish by making the rajas with cream and cheese. The cream provides a smooth, milky flavor that complements the chili peppers and cheese, adding a note of freshness and smoothness to the dish.
How to accompany the rajas with cheese?
Rajas con queso are usually served with warm corn tortillas., which can be used to make tacos or quesadillas. They can also be accompanied with rice, refried beans, guacamole, green sauce or sour cream, depending on tastes and preferences.
If you want to add more flavors and textures to your rajas con queso, you can consider adding other ingredients. For example, they can incorporate sautéed mushrooms, fresh corn, tomatoes, or even spinach. These ingredients will complement the rajas and add more variety to the dish.
4 tips to easily peel poblano peppers for rajas con queso
- Roast on the stove: Place the chiles directly over the flame over medium-high heat. Using tongs, hold the chiles by the stem and turn occasionally to roast evenly. The intense heat will char the skin of the chiles, making them easier to peel later.
- Roasted in the oven: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Arrange the chiles on a baking sheet and pop them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until the skin is charred and blistered.
- Plastic bag: Once the chiles are roasted and their skin charred, place them in a plastic bag, preferably with a hermetic seal. This will help create a steamy environment making it easier to peel the chiles. Leave them in the bag for about 5-10 minutes.
- Naked: After the resting time in the bag, remove the chiles and one by one, remove the charred skin. It can be done with your hands, gently rubbing the skin, or you can also use a knife to scrape it off. The skin should flake off easily, revealing the soft, roasted meat of the chiles.
Rajas with cheese recipe
If you have leftover cheesy slices, you can refrigerate them in an airtight container for up to 3 days. When reheating, be sure to do so gradually and over medium-low heat to prevent the cheese from burning or becoming rubbery.
Yield: 4 portions
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Ingredients for the rajas with cheese recipe
- 4 large poblano chiles roasted and skinless
- 1 white onion, julienned
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 200 gr of Oaxaca cheese (or any other cheese that melts easily)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt to taste
How to make rajas with cheese easy and in 4 steps
- In a large skillet heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft and lightly browned.
- Cut the chiles into strips, clean and skinless. Add the strips to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, so that the flavors blend. Salt to taste
- Crumble or grate the Oaxaca cheese and spread generously over the rajas. Reduce heat to low and cover pan with lid to allow cheese to slowly melt.
- Once the cheese is completely melted, remove the pan from the heat and serve the cheesy slices hot.