Rajas con queso

JASBETH MEDRANO | University of Bristol | Arts, Activism and Social Justice Summer School | Bristol, United Kingdom | Dallas, Texas

Rajas con queso

“Rajas con queso” was the first dish I learned from my grandmother on my dad’s side. She used to say that “a mis tíos los envenenan con las rajas” (you could poison my uncles with Rajas). It was such a simple meal that consisted of only vegetables and her famous cheese. While my version has become a bit gentrified because I just buy queso fresco from my local supermarket, I always think about how much better they would taste with her homemade cheese.

Looking back on it, it was quite amazing how she was able to create enough food to feed my 9 aunts and uncles on such a small budget. Both of my parents grew up in a small village with big families, meaning that my grandparents had to really stretch their food supply. My dad and uncles were piscadores de chiles (harvested peppers), so they got to keep any chiles anchos that fell off the truck. For this reason, my grandma knew quite a bit of recipes with chiles anchos.

However, this recipe holds a special place in my heart because it strengthened my connection to my culture and my family. To me, knowing how to make these delicious dishes created a new way for me to tell my parents how much I loved them. My dad is a picky eater in the sense that he will really only eat Mexican food. Knowing how to cook a meal both of my parents could enjoy meant that I could relieve their stress of needing to cook when they came home. This dish was a gateway to me feeling like I was contributing to the family. Since then, I have always made sure to keep our home clean and have food on the table when my parents got home.

Despite it being a bit taxing at times, my efforts and actions could never quite compare to everything they have done for me. I know what they left behind when they chose to migrate, and I know how hard they work to ensure my sister and I never have to worry about anything. To me, cooking is simply another way to tell them just how much they mean to me.

Rajas Con Queso


3 chiles anchos 2 tomates ½ cebolla Aceite Knorr Chicken Bouillon Queso Fresco

Optional: - Frijoles de la Olla - Tortillas de Harina hechas a mano

  • Charr the Chiles until they are completely black
  • Place the Chiles inside of a plastic bag and let them “sweat” for 15 minutes
  • During the 15 minutes, let your skillet warm up and add oil
  • Slice the onion into thin pieces and when the oil is ready, add onion to the skillet until it's lightly golden
  • Take out the chiles from the bag and remove the blackened skin
  • Cut out the stem of the chile and cut the remaining chile into thin slices
  • Add the sliced chile into the skillet along with the onion and cover
  • Cut up tomato into chunks and add to skillet
  • Add Chicken Bouillon to taste and let everything simmer for 5 minutes on low heat
  • When ready to serve, cut the queso fresco into small chunks and include into the skillet
  • Enjoy!

If you want to eat it most authentically, serve with a side of frijoles de la olla and some tortillas de harina. Otherwise, this recipe is great for burritos.

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