October 06, 2008

Roasting Chiles

I don't know about you all, but a lot of the time I spend in the kitchen isn't spent preparing meals. Quite a lot of it seems to be spend preparing ingredients. The undisputed stars of my little vegetable patch are the chiles. I usually plant Serranos, Poblanos, and Anaheim chiles every spring. Starting about mid summer to about this time of year, I pick, wash, and put up chiles. Now, the serranos I can smoke-dry or pickle. But the best way I've found to use the anaheims and poblanos is to roast, peel, and freeze them. It really brings out the flavor, and I use them in all kinds of dishes. Now, out in New Mexico, they have some pretty impressive chile roasters, but here in my kitchen, we make do with the broiler. I've read a lot of sites that say you need to use a gas flame, but this method works just fine. It's real easy, and when you're done, you'll have chiles that you can take out and use whenever needed. If you have more than one kind of chile to roast, I would suggest doing them separately. These pictures are anaheims, and the anaheim chiles and poblano chiles have different roasting times. So putting them all on the same tray doesn't work so well. Basically, you just want to arrange your chiles on a tray or pan that can go under the broiler.
Then, you put them under the broiler for a few minutes. You don't want to turn your back on these. I keep the oven light on and watch them. It's going to take 3 - 5 minutes (approx). You want the chiles to blister. About 80% of the surface should be blistered, then take them out, turn them over with tongs, and let the other side blister.
Once you've turned them, and they're ready to come out, you want to put them in a plastic zip top bag and close it. Let them sweat for at least 30 minutes.

After they sweat for a while, you can take them out one by one, and start peeling them. Just pinch one of the blistered spots, and the skins should peel right off. Once they're all peeled, I usually put 3 in a snack sized zip-loc bag, and put those in a large zip-loc to go in the freezer. You can thaw them out and use them in almost any dish. They do a good job flavoring up soups, dips, spreads, etc...
Later this week I'll post some of my favorite uses for these.