Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Roasting Peppers--Diced Green Chiles

Last month I posted a recipe for enchilada casserole and mentioned that I don’t regularly buy diced green chiles because they are out of my spending parameters.  I now no longer have to omit the chiles because of price—I started making my own!

Trying to buy peppers at the grocery store may cause some confusion.  What is often labeled as pasilla chiles are actually poblano chiles.  This mild pepper is what I used, though other varieties would work too.  I found mine at WinCo for $0.98 per pound.  I hope to grow some in my garden this year.  For more heat, try Serrano chiles.

Most of the heat of a pepper is located in its seed and the inner membrane.  When using hot chiles, you can decrease the heat by removing the seeds and this membrane.  For more heat, leave the membranes intact and use the seeds.

There are multiple ways to roast chiles.  I will discuss two here.  Regardless of how you prepare your chiles, it is advised that you wear gloves when handling spicy varieties.

Flame-roasted Chiles
Place chiles directly over flames of gas burner on high.  Rotate with tongs as skin blisters and chars, for even roasting.

Blistered skin

Charred skin

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.  Scrape a knife over skin to peel.

Slice pepper down middle.  Remove stem.  Scrape seeds and membrane, if desired.  Slice chile into strips then dice.

This stove-top method works great, but if you want to roast a lot of chiles at once, you’ll probably want to broil them.  You can do this on a foil-lined pan, but I prefer to just put the foil straight on the rack.  This has two advantages:  one less dish to clean and more even roasting.  Many times chiles have a triangular cross section.  This means they will roll to the flat sides, making it harder to roast them.  With the foil directly on the oven rack, I can nestle one of the ridges of the peppers into a gap in the rack, exposing the opposite flat side to the heating element.  Does that make sense?

Broil-roasted Chiles
Cover oven rack with foil and place chiles on foil.  Adjust rack so tops of chiles are at least six inches away from the heat.  Broil, turning occasionally, until evenly and completely roasted.

Remove from oven and continue with steps above.

I roasted two poblanos and ended up with
six ounces of diced chiles.

You can make a lot at a time and freeze them in usable portions.

Not only do I use chiles in enchilada casserole, but also in taco soup.  Check back in the near future for that recipe!

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