Morning name: rajas

Presumably the name rajas ‘slices’ was in my head from seeing it on the menu at Reposado in Palo Alto (where it ocurs four times, but not in any dish I can recall having ordered). And then it’s in the name of a popular Mexican dish that’s not on Reposado’s menu, Rajas con crema ‘poblano pepper slices with cream’ or ‘creamy poblano pepper strips’,

(Side note: my sources tell me that raja ‘slice’ is in use in at least some parts of the Spanish-speaking word as a vulgar term for the vagina — i.e. as ‘cunt’. I don’t know if that leads to sniggering adolescent joking about rajas con crema taken as ‘creamy cunts’.)

On the poblano:

The poblano is a mild chili pepper originating in the state of Puebla, Mexico. Dried, it is called ancho or chile ancho, from the Mexican Spanish name ancho (“wide”) or chile ancho (“wide chile”). Stuffed fresh and roasted it is popular in chile rellenos poblanos [often referred to simply as chile rellenos].

While poblanos tend to have a mild flavor, occasionally and unpredictably, they can have significant heat. Different peppers from the same plant have been reported to vary substantially in heat intensity. The ripened red poblano is significantly hotter and more flavorful than the less ripe, green poblano.

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Poblanos are used in a number of dishes at Reposado, but as rajas in only four that I can see:

the “small plate” (appetizer) Queso Fundido ($12): melted Chihuahua cheese with rajas, shiitake mushroom, handmade tortillas. Add chorizo for $3.

the side dish Creamy Sweet Corn with Rajas ($6)

two “traditional style plates” (main courses), Cochinita Pibil ($26) (pork marinated in achiote & citrus slowly braised in banana leaves, habanero mango & jicama pico de gallo, creamy jasmine rice with rajas) and Filete ($42) (grilled ribeye, arbol demi, corn and rajas with cremini mushrooms, heirloom tomato, frisée)

Now to Rajas con crema. Wikipedia tells us:

Rajas con crema is the name given to a Mexican dish consisting of sliced poblano pepper with cream (the name literally means “slices” in Spanish). It is very popular in Mexico, particularly in the central and southern parts of the country. It is one of the dishes most commonly served during taquizas (taco parties), together with tinga, mole, chicharrón, and papas con chorizo.

Preparation of the dish involves roasting, peeling and slicing the peppers, sauteing them together with sliced onions, and simmering the mixture with cream [the cream is Crema Mexicana, similar to sour cream, or creme fraîche, or heavy cream].. Sometimes chicken broth is added for flavor.

Kernels of sweet corn are frequently added — in fact, the Wikipedia illustration (below) clearly has plenty of corn in it — and sometimes Monterey jack cheesel:

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