oh, the glorious crema de rajas!

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.

roasting & blistering poblanos

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.

blackened and ready for peeling

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.

roasted and ready

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.

onions, peppers, and crema, oh my!

onions, peppers, and crema, oh my!

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!