Pollo a Las Rajas (Cracked Poblano Chicken)

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Preparation time
10 mins
Cooking time
25 mins
4 people
Meal course
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200 grams
Rice (Yellow preferred)
Spring Onions
1 cup
Monterey Jack Cheese
1/4 cup
Semi-skimmed Milk
1 cup
Sour Cream
2 cloves
Garlic cloves
1 cup
Chorizo (Mexican Sausage)
Red Pepper
1 large
Poblano (or ancho) pepper
5 tbspn
vegetable oil
Chicken breasts
Pollo a Las Rajas (Cracked Poblano Chicken)

This recipe is one that I found in a cookbook that I bought on holiday a long time ago and adapted to the availability of ingredients in my area. At home, we like to cook this when it’s cold – in Britain, you often go for a hot stew, but I’ve found that the thick creaminess of the sauce in this dish, coupled with a big piece of chicken and gooey cheese, can be just as satisfying on a cold evening.

The recipe conventionally calls for a fresh Poblano pepper. We grow some of our own mild chilis at home, including Poblanos and Anaheim peppers so that we have them available, but it can be hard to find them in the UK. Typically, it is a lot easier to find ancho chilies – which are just dried and smoked Poblano peppers. I used these when first working with the recipe – simply hydrate them the night before by soaking them in water, then leave them to dry for a few hours beforehand. This can add a bit of a smokey flavour to the dish which is different but not unpleasant. It’s an easy substitute to make if you can’t find the right peppers in your area.

  1. Season the chicken breasts with salt and black pepper, and place them in the oven to cook for 20 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a pan. Once hot, place the whole Poblano pepper into the pan and cook over medium heat until the pepper starts to blacken and crack. You should be able to see that the skin separates from the meat of the pepper. Cook the pepper thoroughly so that this happens on every side. Once it is ready, the structure of the skin will break down so it is no longer firm, but wrinkled and loose.
  3. Remove pepper from heat, and peel skin from pepper using a sharp knife, making sure not to cut into the meat of the pepper.
  4. Open and de-seed the pepper, and cut into thin strips. Also prepare the bell pepper by de-seeding, and then slice both this and the onion into strips.
  5. Crush the garlic clove with a press, or chop finely. Remove Chorizo from its skin (if necessary) and chop or tear it into smaller pieces.
  6. Prepare your rice according to conventional or included instructions.
  7. Now for the fun part. Heat up 3 more tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or pan. Add crushed garlic and let cook for about a minute, to infuse the oil with that delicious garlicky flavour.
  8. Add chorizo sausagemeat to the pan, Cook mostly through, making sure to separate out the pieces to keep them small, break them up, and ensure that they don't get stuck together.
  9. Now add the onion, red papper, and poblano pepper strips. This makes the pan look colourful and very pretty - to compliment the delicious smell.
  10. Cook this mixture over a high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue until the peppers and onions soften.
  11. Add in the semi-skimmed milk and sour cream, and season with salt and pepper. Stir this all together and leave to simmer for a few minutes.
  12. By now, the chicken should be cooked. Take it out of the oven (if you haven't already) and cut each breast diagonally into strips.
  13. Now to put everything together. Divide the rice onto four plates, placed in the middle. In the centre of this, place 1/4 of the chorizo and vegetable mixture on each plate.
  14. On top of this, place one of the chicken breasts (diagonally cut) on each plate. Top each plate with a quarter of your cheese, either shredded or finely chopped.
  15. Finely chop the spring onions, and top each plate with a small amount of this.
  16. Place each plate under a broiler until the cheese turns gooey.
  17. Serve! I like to have mine with a glass of watermelon juice. If you can't easily find this, you could have some watermelon for dessert. The lightness of the fruit helps balance the heavy and filling main course.

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