My husband and I absolutely love Mexican food, so one of our favorite restaurants to visit in Epcot’s World Showcase is the San Angel Inn inside Mexico’s Mayan pyramid. If you find yourself lucky enough to visit this restaurant, ask for a table close to the river which runs through the back of the restaurant.
We’ve visited San Angel Inn several times, but I was recently introduced to what has quickly become one of my favorite dishes in all of Epcot! It’s called Pollo A Las Rajas!
As soon as I got home, I started flipping through all my Disney cookbooks to find this recipe. I was told it has been a staple on their menu since the beginning, so I was excited to learn that the recipe was printed in the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs cookbook!
You might be thinking, I can’t even pronounce this, how am I supposed to make this dish?! Don’t be intimidated…we’ll cover what it all means before we get started making it!
Pollo is the Spanish word for chicken (pronounced Po-yo). A Las Rajas, pronounced awe las (like Las Vegas) raw-hoss (like boss with an h instead of a b), means cracks or splits in Spanish, and refers to the skin of the roasted poblano pepper that we will be “cracking” the skin off of as we roast it in hot oil. So there you go, Pollo A Las Rajas is a super easy dish to make for dinner and is a fancy Spanish phrase for cracked pepper chicken!
I do have to say after looking over the recipe, I was a little disappointed. It seems they have changed the recipe that they actually serve now in the restaurant. I wanted to try the original recipe that was listed in the cookbook, but I was already in love with the dish they served me a few weeks ago in the restaurant. What a dilemma!
The only way to solve this problem is to make both dishes, so that’s what we’ll do! Below you’ll find the original recipe first and then the changes that the restaurant has made to make this dish now. We’ll meet up at the end to discuss! Let’s get started!
Be sure to check out the A Few Lessons I Learned section below to find out more about these ingredients, including how to prep your chorizo.
-4 chicken breast halves
-5 tablespoons vegetable oil
-1 large poblano pepper
-1 large Spanish onion
-1 large red bell pepper
-I cup of chorizo (Mexican sausage), peeled and diced
-1 garlic clove, chopped
-1 cup sour cream
-1/4 cup half and half
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper for cream sauce, plus salt to season chicken
-1/2 teaspoon salt for cream sauce, plus pepper to season chicken
-1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
To make this dish the way they serve it now in the restaurant, you will need all of the above ingredients minus chorizo and Monterey Jack cheese. They have now added the following ingredients to make their new version of this dish:
-1 box of yellow rice (Zataran’s worked perfectly)
-1 package Queso Fresco
-Green onions or fresh chives
The Original Recipe for Pollo A Las Rajas
Here’s the version you would have gotten in the restaurant a couple of years ago!
Step 1: Prepare Chicken
-Season chicken with salt and pepper
-Place chicken in a roasting pan or baking dish and bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, or until cooked.
Step 2: Prepping the Pepper
-Introduce yourself to your poblano pepper!:)
-Heat 2 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 crack.
The pepper will actually start to break down and will no longer be firm or crisp when it is done.
-Peel skin from poblano pepper using a small sharp knife to scrape off the skin.
-Cut off the top and remove all seeds.
Step 3: Chopping Veggies
-Slice onion, bell pepper and poblano pepper into strips.
Step 4: Finalizing the Sauce and Sausage
-Heat remaining 3 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy skillet.
-Add crushed garlic clove with a garlic press (if you don’t have one, just hand chop your garlic clove). Let cook for about a minute in your oil.
-Add chorizo sausage to garlic oil.
-Let chorizo cook through a majority of the way before adding the onion, red pepper, and poblano strips. When you add the peppers and onion, your pan starts to look like a Mexican flag thanks to the green of the poblano, the red of the pepper, and white from the onion! Very pretty!
-Cook over medium high heat, stirring occasionally until onions and peppers are soft.
-Add sour cream, half-and-half, black pepper and salt, stir together and let simmer for 3 minutes.
Step 5: Finish the Dish
-Take your chicken out of the oven and cut on a diagonal into strips.
-Serve family style or individually plated. Whichever you choose, place 1/4 of the chorizo/pepper mixture on plate (creating four separate piles with the whole pot) and stack a full (already cut into strips) chicken breast half on top of each pile.
-Sprinkle the top of each chicken breast with 1/4 cup of Monterey Jack Cheese.
Serve and Enjoy!!!
Pollo A Las Rajas – Newer Recipe
To make the newest version of Pollo A Las Rajas as served in the restaurant today, here are the changes you’ll need to make to the recipe above.
-Follow the directions on the box of yellow rice and get it into the microwave at the same time you get the chicken in the oven. Both take about 20 minutes.
-Follow all the same steps above from the original recipe, except leave out chorizo from the creamy pepper and onion mixture.
-To serve, place yellow rice on plate. Then layer your creamy pepper and onion mixture over the top. Take your chicken breast half, sliced at a diagonal, and layer on top.
-Finish off your dish by sprinkling Queso Fresco and green onions or fresh chives over the top!
Ok, so we made two versions of this recipe, and you are probably wondering which one we liked the best. I wish we could answer that question for you. Both versions were fantastic!
The version with the rice tasted exactly like the dish that we were served in the restaurant. So, if you want an authentic San Angel Inn experience at home, go with the new recipe.
If you love fajitas, then go with the original chorizo recipe and serve your dish with warm tortillas. If you are a tad bit on the adventurous side, make both like I did!
Whichever way you choose, this dish will not disappoint! Enjoy serving this meal with tortilla chips and salsa just like they do table side at the restaurant. This is the perfect meal for families with kids or can even be turned into a romantic dinner night for two served up with amazing margaritas, a Mexican tradition! Either way, bring back the memories of dining at San Angel Inn inside the Mexico pavilion at Epcot by dimming the lights at home and eating by candlelight.
If you do choose to serve this meal to the entire family, keep the kids busy while you are cooking by letting them make homemade passports for each family member. Before everyone can eat, give everyone a passport and let the kids stamp them as you all walk into the dining room, which has now been transformed to a beautiful evening in Mexico with dimmed lights and candlelight at the table!
They’ll get a kick out of traveling to another country for the evening and you’ll have peace and quiet to put this meal together…hopefully! Everyone wins! Enjoy your Mexican fiesta!
A Few Lessons I Learned…
As with all recipes, you usually find helpful ways to make it easier to make them. This section is filled with helpful hints that I learned while making this recipe and doing research on some of the ingredients! I hope they help you, too!
-If you want to take your time with the recipe and not have to worry about your chicken overcooking, don’t put the chicken in the oven until after you have cut up all the veggies for the cream sauce.
-Chorizo sausage is a pretty common sausage and can usually be found in your grocer’s meat department. It usually comes in links like Italian sausage or brats. To make this dish, take a tiny knife and slit the casing of the sausage and then remove it. I found it easier to add the sausage to my hot oil and use a spatula or spoon to chop up the meat in the pan instead of trying to dice it up beforehand. Two links is plenty and will give you just over a cup, which is needed for this recipe.
-Poblano peppers are not spicy at all, especially when roasted and seeds taken out. This is a very savory pepper with a wonderfully unique flavor when roasted…no substitutions for this pepper! I found it in the chile/pepper area in the fresh produce section of my local grocery store. I’ve been buying these babies for years, so I don’t believe it is a hard item to find! Make sure you look at my poblano picture pepper if you’ve never used one to get the same thing. Some people I’ve encountered at grocery stores in the past try to say a light limey green pepper is a poblano; it’s not! They are usually a very dark hunter green color.
-I had a problem finding a Spanish onion. If you can’t find a Spanish onion in your area, I did some research and a sweet onion will be your best substitution to pair with this recipe. A Spanish onion is sweet enough to eat raw, so a sweet onion will do the trick in a pinch! This onion was so large, so I only used half of it for this recipe.
-I just learned this fact, so I thought I’d pass it onto you! When cutting a raw pepper (like your red pepper in this dish), turn it inside out and cut on the flesh side. It makes it way easier to cut!
-Try to place the same amount of red pepper, onion, and poblano into your cream sauce for an even amount of each flavor. Since poblano is the clear star of this dish, I am contemplating using two next time!
-I would skip the Monterey Jack cheese all together and just buy the Queso Fresco (spanish for fresh cheese) in the fresh cheese section. This is a white cheese. We have four or five different brands to choose from in the cheese section of my local grocer. I’ve also seen it next to the cold tortilla and sour cream area at Super Walmart, so it shouldn’t be hard to find! I’ve always been afraid to try this cheese, because I have never worked with it before. I was so excited to get to work with it for this dish. It comes in a square, pretty solid block, but crumbles really easily. It is a creamy cheese that is authentic to Mexico. It can cost anywhere from $3-$6 for a block depending on the brand you buy. It’s delicious and perfect to pair with any Mexican meal at home! Enjoy this new ingredient in your cooking…I know I’m looking forward to using it a lot more!
-Always have a trash bowl by your side. It’s better and much cleaner instead of trying to drag things off the counter into the trash. When you’re in a hurry, more things end up on your kitchen floor than actually making it into the trashcan…am I right?:) Grab a big bowl from your kitchen and place it next to your cutting board. As you are chopping and prepping, transfer your trash to that bowl. When you are all done, you just have one bowl to dump in the trash instead of 50 million separate pieces as you work through the prep and chopping process! Enjoy this tip with all of your recipes that you make!:)
Have you tried Pollo A Las Rajas at San Angel Inn? Let us know in the comments below!