Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How to Roast and Peel a Chile Pepper 101

Hooray! The chiles are ready to harvest! Fresh roasted are so much better than the little cans.
It's chile season down here in the Southwestern USA and I think I'm not the only one who gets really excited to see signs in the grocery store letting us know that the shipments have arrived.
Even more exciting to have them grow in the garden, but mine only produced a few this year, so I went ahead and purchased a few.
What is the point of roasting peppers anyway? One thing that I can't get over is how much flavor it adds to roast the peppers. It also helps remove the inedible skin that makes for a nasty chili or salsa if you don't take it off. So, short of building one of the giant chile roasters that street vendors use, I've resorted to the old standard roasting method. This works for a few chiles at a time. Larger batches can be made using the broiler of the oven, but exposure to fire or high direct heat will give you the best results. If you've never roasted a pepper, this is how it's done.

The first step is to lightly oil the outside of the chile. You can do it without the oil, but it takes longer to get the skin to brown.
I use a basic vegetable or olive oil.

Holding the chile with tongs over an open flame, rotate it until the skin is charred.

It will look blistered and black. Oooh. Ahhh. Look how it glistens in the light. Like a disco ball...but maimed and disfigured. How sad. This looks even more graphic with red bell peppers. Yikes.
You really want it to look horrible. Like any burn victim would look. Avoid the urge to call the paramedics. It's just a chile. It will be fine.
I have to turn them around a lot if I do it over the stove top. In the oven, using the broiler, turn over once the top is charred and blacken the bottom. If you miss a section, that skin won't come off the uncharred section. Notice this one on the left (perfect)compared to the one on the right (missing some spots).
Put the peppers in a covered bowl or plastic bag. I prefer to use a bowl, only because I can see the pepper...and I can do a lot more. With plastic I worry I will put them in the bag too hot, and melt the plastic. The whole point of roasting was to get rid of inedible stuff...not add to it! Right?

Allow the peppers to cool, about 10 minutes. This steams the skin and allows it to separate from the pepper.
Remove the lid.
Carefully peel the skins off the peppers. Some chefs do this step under running water, but I prefer to just do it by hand, as I find it retains a lot more flavor.
Soon you will have a bowl full of peelings. The only real redeeming thing I've seen them used for, is crazy cool photos.
Use for chile rellanos, or my personal favorite,
Green Chile Salsa
( adapted from Karen Ward's Canning for Dummies)
2 lb tomatoes, peeled and chopped to measure 3 cups
7 oz fire roasted green chiles, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
6 cloves of minced garlic
2T fine chopped fresh cilantro
2 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin (I used 1 1/2 tsp)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
Prepare your canning jars and two piece caps according to the manufacturer's instructions. Keep the jars and lids hot.
Place all the ingredients in a 5 to 6 quart pot. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat, stirring to combine. Reduce the heat to low an simmer uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Ladle your hot salsa into the prepared jars, leaving head space of 1/4 inch. Wipe the jar rims; seal the jars with two piece caps, hand tightening the bands. Process the filled jars in a water boiling water bath for 10 minutes from the point of boiling. Remove the jars from the boiling water with a jar lifter. Place them on a clean kitchen towel or paper towels away from draft. After the jars cool, test the seals. If you find jars that haven't sealed, refrigerate them and use them within 2 months. Yield 3 pints

There you go! Roast yourselves some chiles!

1 comment:

mlebagley said...

I really wish you had posted this earlier! I made several batches of salsa for canning and really fuddled my way through broiling/blistering the skins and then tried to peel them. It was very tedious! Your way would have been so much easier! Thanks for posting!