i am not a super saucy person. well, maybe that’s not true. i love salsa. i love tomato sauce (although, not as a child. i was a “naked noodles” kind of girl, for sure. butter, parmesan, and alphabet pasta and i was a happy camper). i love guacamole. chutneys, fruit preserves and the like, if those qualify as sauces. but i’ve claimed for some time that creamy sauces are just not for me. what a lie i’ve been telling myself these last 25 years.
friends, i am happy to announce my deep, unwavering love and appreciation for creamy sauce. but not just any creamy sauce. rick bayless’s roasted poblano sauce, the sauce that changed my world.
it all started with my saturday visit to eastern market. the day after my birthday (which was last friday… yes, i’ve reached that pivotal age of 25. 1/4 way to my centennial…), we didn’t get to the market until late, especially considering the slow, lazy, quiet pace of the mid-winter market. the sheds stood nearly vacant, most vendors already packed up and gone. one of the stragglers, though, working hard to clear the rest of his produce, hustled me a bag of crisp evergreen-colored poblanos for a measly $2. unsure of what to do with these deep green peppers, i left them safely in the fridge until tuesday. in the meantime, i consulted my boss for any inspirational ideas.
smiling, she handed me rick bayless’s mexican kitchen. eagerly, i scoped the book from cover to cover, delighted by the flavors and herbs and ideas his recipes created in my mind.
i settled on a recipe for a poblano sauce that accompanied fish or chicken, i think. all i know is that my vision for this particular main course consisted of these items: delicious, soupy homemade black beans (another rick bayless recipes); crispy allium polenta, showing off the ever flavorful scallions, garlic, onions, and leeks that never linger long in my kitchen (they’re too tasty!); a light and happy green poblano sauce of some sort; a dollop of crema del encanto (gracias al marqueta la colmena); and sunflower sprouts from raw detroit community farms.
what i got? a most amazing meal.
while i’ve returned the book to work, thus lacking the base recipe by mr. bayless, i can tell you these key things.
1. roast 6 or so poblanos either over your gas stovetop or under the broiler, till blackened and blistered. cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow to steam for 5 or so minutes. this will make the peeling so much easier. peel and core and seed the peppers, cutting into 1/4 inch strips.
2. brown up onions (in my case 1/2 a white onion and 2 leeks) until crisp over medium high heat, for about 5 minutes.
3. add 3 gloves of minced garlic, thyme, and oregano, continue to cook for 1 minute. add the poblano strips, and cook until heated through.
4. add 1/2 cup of crema del encanto (sour cream, creme fraiche, or any such dairy product will do), and cook for 2 to 4 minutes, simmering softly.
5. add this mix to a food processor along with another 1/2 cup of crema, blend until it reaches the smoothness you desire. i added some calder’s milk here to thin it a bit, so that i could effectively drizzle for presentational purposes. but, in all honesty, i could have just eaten the sauce as soup and called it a night.
yes, this stuff is that good.
since its original debut on wednesday, i’ve happily demanded green spoonfuls of crema de rajas at every meal since. try it out!
side note: i still have squash butter for sale! also, i have some mixed berry jam (limited availability!), packed with mulberries, red currants, and gooseberries! all $6 a jar. let me know if you’re interested!