Don’t get me wrong. We thoroughly enjoyed our lunch at Javier’s in Las Vegas, but I simply wanted to serve the dish with more shrimp, and more rajas! So here I re-create a version of that fabulous Camarones con Rajas at home. It’s overloaded with succulent Alaska spot shrimp atop poblano chile strips and onions smothered in a garlic butter cream sauce.
Rajas con crema is a popular Mexican dish consisting of strips or slices (rajas in Spanish) of roasted poblano peppers in a cream sauce.
At Javier’s, we dined on aguachile del rey with bay scallop, shrimp, and octopus; empanadas de camarón; chile verde with braised pork and tomatillo sauce; and the camarones con rajas – all accompanied by their hand-shaken signature margaritas. This stunning upscale Mexican restaurant is located in the Aria Resort right next to the casino floor where hundreds of rope strands form an impressive canopy in the bar area.
While Javier’s prepares their dish with Mexican white prawns, I am elevating my dish with Alaska spot shrimp.
Alaska Spot Shrimp are sweet and plump. And if cooked correctly, they are luscious and much more tender than the Mexican prawn variety. With their slightly briny hint of the sea, spot shrimp taste like a sweet-buttery cross between lobster and Dungeness crab. They are just heavenly served over the poblano garlic butter cream.
Chilled Marcona Almond & Poblano Chile Soup with Sherry Crab Salad Pillar with Avocado Diced Watermelon, Feta and Mint Borage Blossom Garnish
The 5 Star Makeover Cooking Group hosted by Natasha the 5 Star Foodie & Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks! is an outstanding monthly event for sharing ideas and creating gourmet makeovers of selected classic dishes or flavor combinations. June’s summery theme is CHILLED SOUPS.
The chilled almond & chile soup has been a favorite here for over a decade – a STAR of a cold soup that’s hot, smoky, and nutty. If fact, I entered it in a contest at the Los Angeles County Fair years ago, and it won second place. I’ve updated the soup recipe, now using sweet Spanish Marcona almonds and dry Spanish sherry. The basic soup can be simply garnished with bay shrimp or a drizzle of Mexican crema and a few cilantro leaves. Or for entertaining, go all out and build the crab pillar, your guests will be delighted.
Cover the hot charred poblanos with a kitchen towel and let stand for 5 minutes. Remove the skin and seeds, slice into strips. Set aside.
The short ribs are browned in my Le Creuset French Oven, then removed from the pan. Sliced onion is cooked until golden, then add finely chopped garlic. Chopped tomatoes are added, cook for about 3 minutes more. The sliced poblanos, browned short ribs, plus salt and epazote are all nestled into the pan, covered, and braised at 325°F for about 1 1/2 hours.
The epazote gives this dish its traditional Mexican flavor. I have fallen in love with this herb and its intriguing aroma reminiscent of kerosene. This fabulous dish is the creation of Chef Rick Bayless. The detailed recipe can be found here.
I made this dish for my brother Bill. Knowing I was preparing a meat dish with Mexican origins, he stopped at the wine shop on his way over. The Bellum El Principio 2005 was one of two excellent recommendations. This is a Spanish wine made from 100% monastrell old vines. A complex and earthy wine, somewhat spicy, with a mixed berry fruit character, powerful yet smooth. The name “Bellum” comes from a local prehistoric cave painting. Perfect pairing with Beef Short Ribs and Poblanos! Thanks Billy.
We enjoyed this dish with white rice and Christmas Lima beans. I sent Bill home with some leftovers and when we talked later in the week, we both agreed that this dish was even better the next day! I’ve long been a fan of Rick Bayless and his restaurants in Chicago – Frontera Grill and Topolobambo. ¡Muchas Gracias RB!