Roasting and peeling chile peppers is a skill you’ll need if you want to be able to cook authentic Mexican, Tex-Mex, or Southwestern food.
Canned chiles just don’t cut it. Neither the flavor nor the texture is the same.
Frozen chiles are passable if they’re available in your area.
With that said, roasting and peeling green chiles is easy to do at home, no matter what kind of oven you have.
This technique not only works on Hatch or Anaheim green chiles, it also works on other green chiles, including poblanos.
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There are three different ways to roast your green chiles at home; over a gas burner, under the broiler in an electric oven, and over charcoal.
I won’t get into detail for roasting them over charcoal, since it’s essentially the same as roasting them over a gas burner. Just get your charcoal good and hot and handle them the same way.
Using a gas burner is better than using the broiler in an electric oven because it’ll blacken the skins faster and doesn’t soften the pepper underneath so much, but your broiler will work just fine if that’s all you have available.
Charcoal is the best, though, because it’s hard to beat that extra bit of smokiness that’s added.
How to Roast and Peel Chile Peppers – Step By Step
First, wash and rinse your green chiles, then dry thoroughly. The skins will be peeled off, but you don’t want any pesticides or other chemicals to accidentally find their way into your dinner. Also, there’s no telling how many people handled them before they made it into your shopping cart.
Snip the stems off close to the pepper (don’t open the pepper up) so that it doesn’t burn while you’re roasting the pepper.
For an electric oven: Preheat your broiler on its highest setting with the rack in its upper-most position. Let it preheat for 5-10 minutes so that it’s good and hot before you put the peppers under it. Place the chiles on a heavy-duty broiler pan, then place the chiles directly under the burner. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the top of the peppers are almost completely blackened, then flip and cook until the opposite side is blackened.
For a gas cooktop: Place the peppers directly on the grate over the fire and cook, turning often with metal tongs, until the peppers are blackened all over.
Place the peppers in a large heat-proof bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. This will allow the steam to loosen the skins on the peppers.
Allow the peppers to cool for ten to twenty minutes so the steam can do its work.
Remove the peppers from the bowl, then gently rub and peel the skins off.
Next, split the chiles down the sides with your fingers and open them up flat. Tear out the seed pod and pull out whatever veins and seeds you can. It’s okay if a few stray seeds are still on the pepper. You just want to get most of them off.
Don’t rinse the peppers under running water. It’s tempting sometimes, but it’ll wash away some of the flavor along with the seeds.
Chop the peppers up and use immediately, refrigerate for 1-2 days, or freeze for up to six months.
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