Getting into a good blogging habit with two kids is hard, not gonna lie. I have spent hours in the kitchen over the last few months, been to multiple new restaurants, taken many pictures and have the starts to multiple posts. That however, doesn’t help my readers!! So here I am trying to get into a good blogging rhythm. Harder than I thought…. Yes, Impossible…. NO! I will note- being without a refrigerator for 6 weeks was beyond unbearable!!! If anyone ever needs help putting a warranty company in their place- I’m your girl!
Living in Florida gives us some endless food options but possibly the largest diversity of Mexican food! Almost equal to living in Texas or California, Florida offers an authentic Mexican restaurant on almost every corner. So that means someone like me can be picky on where they dine when craving the flavors from south of the boarder. Within the next few posts I will teach you how to make some famous Mexican staples- fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, shredded chicken and my favorite- carnitas. But today I wanna focus on a delicious dish that can be dressed up for a dinner party or made on a weeknight for an easy meal for the family. So lets discuss where I first came across Pollo a las Rajas.
In 2006, when I was a Horticulture intern for Walt Disney World I met someone with an equal obsession for Disney dining. We started a tradition of going out every Tuesday night to a new restaurant- mostly Disney restaurants, although we did hit up a few found on Universals City Walk as well. One of my favorites was the San Angel Inn in the Mexican pavilion at Epcot. This was on my bucket list because I love all Latin food, it is inside a pyramid, has views of the river the boat ride goes down, and every single time you set foot inside it simply smells amazing. Lets put it this way, if you weren’t hungry before going inside the Mexican pavilion, you will leave wanting to eat everything in sight!
Of course Disney being Disney the décor is on point. They spare no expense when it comes to detail and you have to appreciate that while dining at the San Angel Inn. All 5 senses are hit with a foodie 2 by 4, and you will feel totally immersed in the culture of Mexico.
Pollo a las rajas basically means cracked pepper chicken. But lets face it- pollo a las rajas sounds so much fancier than cracked pepper chicken. The cracked pepper is referring to the process of cracking and then pealing the peppers skin. As far as the pepper goes- it’s a actually a chili and you need to make sure you get the correct chili. For the purposes of this recipe you will be looking for a poblano chili and it is often miss-labeled at the grocery store. The chili is much larger than a jalapeño, but is about the same color- a nice dark green.
Apparently this dish has been a staple on the menu at San Angel Inn since the beginning, but it has been changed slightly over the years. The original recipe can be found in the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs cookbook. It was one of the first books I purchased at the end of my internship in 2006 when I needed to bring all this goodness home with me.
Version one of this recipe involves chorizo, shredded Monterey jack cheese and no rice. Version two added rice and crumbled queso blanco- they also removed the chorizo which I think was a good call. For myself, I add two extra steps to the chicken and otherwise stick to the Disney Chefs recipe.
There are so many ways to plate this recipe- you can make if different every time!
Pollo a las Rajas
Inspired by San Angel Inn at Epcot
-4 chicken breast halves
-Salt, pepper, adobo seasoning for chicken
-Juice from two limes
-5 tablespoons vegetable oil
-1 large poblano pepper
-1 large Spanish onion
-1 large red bell pepper
-1 garlic clove, chopped
-1 cup sour cream
-1/4 cup half and half
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Queso blanco to taste
-Yellow Spanish rice (any brand)
-Green onions to garnish
-Season chicken with salt, pepper and adobo seasoning.
-Pour lime juice over chicken. This adds flavor but helps keep the chicken from getting dry. No one likes dry chicken.
-Place chicken in a roasting pan or baking dish and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until cooked.
-Prepare yellow Spanish rice according to boxed directions. Most take 20-25 minutes.
-Heat 2-3 of the tablespoons of vegetable oil in a saucepan, and lightly sauté (over medium heat) poblano pepper until skin starts to separate. Leave it in the pan and keep turning to let all sides hit the hot oil and begin to crack.
-The pepper will begin to get soft but most importantly the skin will start to peal off.
– Remove the pepper from the pan. Carefully, using a knife- remove the skin.
-Cut off the top of the pepper and remove the seeds.
-Thinly slice the onion, bell pepper and poblano chili into strips.
-Before adding veggies to pan, first put in the crushed or chopped garlic and begin to sauté on medium heat.
-Add remaining oil into pan and sauté onion, pepper and chili together.
-Once all veggies are tender add the sour cream and half and half. Simmer for 3 minutes.
– I will warn you that the mixture is very runny and this is normal. Don’t think you have done something wrong.
-Once the chicken is done remove from oven and cut into thin strips.
– I like to serve mine family style, but you could do a number of things with this dish (including tacos).
– To plate- begin with a layer of yellow rice, follow by onion and pepper mixture, place chicken strips on top and garnish with crumbled queso blanco and green onions.