Roasting and Peeling Fresh Peppers
Here in Texas it is Hatch season. Hatch is a particular variety of green chile only grown in a certain county of New Mexico. The season only lasts a couple of weeks so grab some now.
A few New Years ago I wanted to make authentic posole soup. The recipe called for green chiles. The only way to get my hands on some in January was to order them frozen online and pay overnight shipping or use canned. Being a chile purist (haha) I ordered them. The whole ones were wonderful, but also wonderfully expensive. The chopped ones contained all the seeds from the original pepper, and I really dislike the texture of the seeds.
Since then, I purchase a large amount during Hatch season around here.
Several years I bought the ones at the grocery store that were roasted on site. I cleaned and froze them in batches and was very happy.
Last year I noticed the ones I purchased were over roasted and lost a lot of the meatiness of the pepper. So, this year I decided to try roasting them on my own.
The method below can also be done inside. They can be roasted one at a time over a flame on a gas range. But, I was doing a lot of them. They can also be roasted in an oven set as high as it will go. This it will really heat up your kitchen, and it might get smoky. So, I prefer to do mine outside on the grill.
This method can also be used for other peppers such as Anaheim or Poblano.
After the chicken exploding incident (that's a whole story of it's own), I had to purchase a new grill. I've been very happy with the one I got because it gets extremely hot and is designed so that there are no flare-ups.
Mine is the smallest of the line, but then I don't grill for a crowd. So, it serves me perfectly.
Now on with the how to.
I set my grill on the highest possible setting. Here you can see that it is over 600 degrees.
Next, I load it with as many peppers as will fit without touching. Please use a pair of long tongs, you don't want to burn yourself. Now close the lid (no peeking!).
After approximately 5 minutes open it up and check on them. If the bottoms are beginning to char, turn them over. Work quickly because you want the grill to stay super hot. You might hear some of them pop from the pressure building under the skins. That's ok.
Wait another 5 or so minutes and check again. Remove the ones that are evenly charred. Some of them may need a little longer on the grill. Place the side that needs more browning downward, and close the lid for a couple of more minutes.
Place them on a plate or baking sheet and let them continue to steam and gradually cool down.
Repeat the process if you have more.
Once they have all cooled down, you can start peeling off the charred skin.
The peeling should easily pull off in a couple of pieces. If some of the skin won't let go don't force it. Just leave it on, otherwise you will tear a whole in your chile.
Now you can decide how you want to use them. I keep as many of mine whole as possible. Freeze 4 to 6 together in a quart size freezer bag.
The ones that aren't perfect get chopped up (remove the seeds). These were put inside cupcake liners, covered with plastic wrap, and placed in the freezer until the next day. Once frozen solid, remove them from the pan and peel off the paper. They are perfectly portioned in amounts the size of a small can of store purchased green chiles. Now they can be placed in a freezer bag and pulled out one at a time as needed.
Don't freeze them all. Take advantage of the freshness of some. I'll share the recipe I used for these in another post.
Now hurry out and get some Hatch chiles before they are all gone!