Recipe: Poblano Potatoes, Papas con Rajas

Adan Medrano

Archaeologists found evidence of the potato in Peru, dated more than 8,000 years ago. Adán always gives a little history with his recipes.

Papas Con Rajas, Poblano Potatoes, are creamy because of the waxy potatoes and lush because, well, roasted chiles Poblanos are always lush.  This recipe, brings together the traditions of Peru and Mexico, potatoes being native to Peru and the Poblano chile native to Mexico.

Poblano Potatoes from Chilca, Peru
Chilca, Perú is the site of early archaeological evidence of potatoes dating back 8,000 years.

Early archaeological evidence of the potato is found in excavations near the town of Chilca, just south of Lima, Peru and dated more than 8,000 years ago.  Amazingly, there are over 2,300 varieties of potatoes in Peru. It’s an important culinary ingredient of the Incas who used elaborate preparation techniques that included alternatively pressing, drying and then freezing.

Roasting the Poblano chiles to make rajas, strips, adds aroma and sizzle to this dish.  I think you’ll find this chile/potato combination so delicious that it’ll become a staple in your kitchen. Just make sure that you use a waxy potato and not a flaky or russet type.

RECIPE FOR POBLANO POTATOES, PAPAS CON RAJAS

Ingredients (serves 4)
4 small waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2-1/2 cups). I like Yukon gold, but you can use any other waxy type.  Keep away from russet because it’ll just fall apart.
2 poblano chiles
1/2 white onion, peeled and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons canola or other vegetable oil
Salt to taste

Method

1. Place the chiles under a broiler, turning them so that they are entirely charred and the skin blisters. Place them in a paper bag, close tightly, and let them sweat for 15 minutes so that the skin will peel off easily.

Poblano Chiles Roasting In Oven
Poblano Chiles roasting in the oven.

2. Place each chile on a cutting board and peel off the skin with your fingers. You can use a dull knife if you need to gently scrape off some of the skin, but this should not be necessary if the chiles are well charred.

3. On the cutting board, cut a slit lengthwise in each chile. Open the chile and lay it flat, inside flesh facing up. Remove the stem and the cluster of seeds attached to it. Remove the remaining seeds by sliding them away gently with your finger or a butter knife.

4. Cut the chiles into strips, 1/4–1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long.  Set aside.

5. Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

6. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil, and then add the potato cubes and cook for 5 minutes. By that time they should be partially cooked. Take a cube out and test it, cutting into it to ensure that it is still somewhat firm in the center. If it is too hard, let it cook for another minute. Drain in a colander.

7. In a 12-inch skillet, preferably nonstick, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook for about 3 minutes until they begin to turn translucent.  Add the potatoes and let them heat through and acquire some golden color, about another 3 minutes. Then add the rajas and cook for an additional 2 minutes until heated through.

Serve piping hot.

Note: Recipe adapted from the history/cookbook: “Truly Texas Mexican: A Native Culinary Heritage In Recipes” published by Texas Tech University Press.

NOTE: If you found my article helpful, I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe below for updates (I’ll email you new essays when I publish them).

Subscribe today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Must Read

Texas quinceañeras to offer voter registration at their coming of age parties

Victor Landa May 17, 2019

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A Texas-based nonprofit is aiming to bolster the Latino vote by offering young women the opportunity to hold voter registration booths at their quinceañeras. And they already have […]

Latino Health Paradox is a Laughing Matter

Victor Landa

High-quality conversations and laughter may contribute to longer life expectancy in Latinx populations in the United States, according to a new study in PLosONE by the University of Connecticut.  Researchers sought to explain […]

Census citizenship question began as GOP plan to hurt Democrats, documents show

Victor Landa June 3, 2019

Newly revealed documents appeared to confirm Thursday what many critics had long suspected — that the Trump administration’s drive to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census began as […]

Hispanic Texans on pace to become largest population group in state by 2022

Victor Landa June 6, 2019

For many years, the prospect that Hispanic Texans would become the state’s largest population group has been a question of “when” and not “if.” With growth among the Hispanic population […]

Latino leaders sound alarms over mobilizing Latino voters in 2020

Victor Landa June 11, 2019

Democratic presidential candidates are squandering a critical early opportunity to mobilize Latino voters ahead of 2020, potentially easing Donald Trump’s path to reelection, according to leading Latino political operatives in battleground […]

Running while brown: How Julián Castro is navigating white presidential politics

Victor Landa June 25, 2019

EAST LOS ANGELES — By the time his plane touched down in California at the end of a whirlwind week, Julián Castro had set an early political benchmark in the […]

Advocates wonder: Where’s the outreach from Democratic presidential candidates to Latino voters?

Victor Landa

MIAMI — There is outrage over Trump administration policies that have torn migrant families apart and left some children locked up. There is pervasive fear of immigration raids. And there […]