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Jun 12, 2013 10:53 AM

Frozen Poblano Strips!

Found these at my neighborhood Food4Less store (in Pasadena CA) and had to try them. I've found it difficult to roast and peel those satisfactorily; these are done perfectly, have excellent flavor, and are dead easy to use - you can thaw them in the fridge, under running water, or just put them frozen into dishes and start cooking. My store has 16-oz bags for $2.28 each; they're the La Huerta brand from Aguascalientes, MX. Given the price of fresh poblanos (for some reason they're sold as "pasillas") and the time and energy needed to roast, peel and seed them, that's a fair bargain in my books.

I've used them in several different dishes so far, all good, including in some hash browns I just had for breakfast. Next project is going to be that good old '70s potluck standby, the Chile Relleno Casserole, for a dinner on Friday. Report to follow!

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  1. Thats a ripper find Will, great work! I say "fair bargain" is an understatment per your parameters, plus the convenience of having a really valuable pantry ingredient available at any time. I will pick some up next time I shop there.

    Now I will let you in on one of my secrets from F4L, my favorite "affordable" great burger buns. They are "Authentic Telera rolls, 10 count" @ ~$2.29. They are on tables in the bakery area near the produce, in very non-flashy generic bags, and made by the Gold Coast Baking Company.

    As you might imagine, the fact that the package is labeled "Authentic" might be a clue that they really are not like the Telera rolls in a proper panaderia, which is why they make perfect hamburger buns (for my preferences). They are denser(?) than a squishy regular white bread bun and taste good, and also can stand up to a toasting if desired(always). They also come in whole wheat, but I personally did not like the taste. These "Buns" are usually about 5 1/2 x 4 1/2 and fit my optimal 9 oz size patties perfectly.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DWB

      Good to know, DWB, and thanks for that tip! We're doing veggie burgers now exclusively (Morningstar Farms, mostly) and those shrimpy little patties kind of get lost in the giant buns that have become universal now. A telera roll is exactly what I need to start using.

      F4L has a lot of stuff I can't find in Ralphs, undoubtedly because of the differences in demographics. When I was making gumbo frequently that's where I could always find bags of frozen okra with tomatoes, all cut up and ready to go into the pot. They also tend to have the flatiron steaks that my nearby Ralphs has stopped carrying, and at a marked-down price at that.

      1. re: Will Owen

        The teleras of which I speak are HUGE, they need a large diameter pattie! Especially before cooking, you know, with meat.

    2. Awesome to know about. I am making rajas con crema as part of our Father's Day meal today and just went through the broiling, bagging, cooling, and cleaning process of a bunch of poblanos. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for these and give them a try.

      Broiling tends to overcook the peppers, but I have no patience for stove top blistering. I just do it anyway because they still taste good, but they are slightly too soft in rajas con crema or rajas salad. How soft were the defrosted frozen ones?

      1 Reply
      1. re: luckyfatima

        Pretty close to fresh, and they're meatier than the fresh ones we get in the L.A.-area markets. The pieces are not at all uniform, so when I'm using them in something like an omelet I go over them with a knife while they're still frozen to cut down some of the wider chunks.

        Okay - now I've got to go look for rajas con crema …

      2. Thx for the suggestion. However, it is supremely easy to prep poblanos:
        Slice vertically and discard core. Lay out slices peel side up on baking sheet over foil. Broil until bubbling and black. Dump chilis into plastic bag and close. After a few minutes, peel and reuse foil to freeze if you wish. This whole thing will take 8-10 minutes for a big sack of chilis. Nothing easier!
        btw: pasillas are dried. That's the only difference. When you dry a poblano it changes into a pasilla. Like water turning into ice? It's still water, just frozen.
        And furthermore, the Telera rolls are great for roast salmon sandwiches or grilled portobello because they won't fall apart.

        2 Replies
        1. re: TrueBlue

          I've got to disagree with you on one point. The dried poblano is usually referred to as an ancho, while the pasilla is meant to refer to the dried chilaca. I know the pasilla= ancho is common, but it's incorrect.

          I'm not trying to draw a line in the sand here, but I think that given the confusion surrounding chiles in general it's important to know what you're getting.

          Also, I have tried virtually every method of prepping poblanos, and this is the best for me: place the whole chiles directly on a gas stove burner, turning frequently until all sides are blackened. Put the blackened chiles into a bowl covered with a kitchen towel, leaving them for at least ten minutes. Rub the chiles and the blackened skin should come right off, leaving the meaty poblano behind.

          1. re: JonParker

            JonParker, you are 100% correct about what's a poblano and what's a pasilla. However, the SKU# used for poblanos by all the grocery stores, at least in SoCal, when scanned come up PASILLA. Period. Therefore they are so identified on the shelf tags.

            Yes, I know how to roast and skin poblanos. It's simply a labor-and-energy-intensive process I'd like to avoid whenever possible. My gas stove burners are of a stupid design that flames around the edges with a big gap in the middle, and my broiler is 'way slow and then sudden, with no clear way to control it, so I don't use it for anything that needs close watching (and the glass on my 30-YO Amana wall oven has gone completely opaque anyway). Slow tedious knife work I don't mind, but pepper-roasting I'll leave to the experts. Unless I get a deep-fryer - those work a treat, I'm told.

        2. After finding this thread in 2014, I started making occasional trips to Food4Less just to buy these. Thanks, Will!

          Unfortunately, on my last two attempts they weren't there. I think Food4Less stopped selling them. I tried to figure out what other stores might carry the La Huerta product line, but the La Huerta website didn't have a store locator search, as far as I could tell.

          I did a little googling and found that there is a competing Frozen Poblano product:
          Herdez Diced Poblano Peppers

          Herdez (owned by Hormel, apparently) also has a link to search for stores that carry particular products:

          I found that these frozen Poblanos are sold in a few Walmarts East and SE of Pasadena. The closest one was sorta on my way home today, so I picked some up. Correction, I picked all of them up. I like that they are diced instead of strips. They seem like a good replacement for La Huerta!

          If you're looking for a new supplier like I was, hopefully this helps. Just give them a few days to restock if you're going to go the Walmart near San Gabriel and Garvey!

          4 Replies
          1. re: CraigV

            This may not help you West Coast-ers, but Wegmans carries frozen diced poblanos (store brand)...

            1. re: truman

              Oh, thanks so much, truman. Do you know if they are roasted? We finally have Wegmans out here in New England.

                1. re: truman

                  OH, that's great. Now I don't have to ration out the rest of the summer poblanos we grew in our Earthboxes.I appreciate the info!