Poblano Roast

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Chile peppers are an integral part of Mexican and Southwestern cuisines, and it’s good to get to know them – especially the ones that are readily available to you.

One of the most well-known and available chiles is jalapeños, which are pretty hot, and tend to scare people. It’s okay if you never want to try them, although that would be a shame.

Poblano peppers, on the other hand, are mild, which makes them much more versatile. This is especially the case for those who don’t like things too spicy-hot, but want to experiment with Mexican and Southwestern cuisines.

The fresh poblano is dark green and long, about 5″ long on average. Dried poblanos are called ancho chiles, which you might have used before to make an ancho chile paste or sauce. Ground ancho chile powder is also available at spice markets.
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Chile pepper nomenclature is really involved and confusing. That’s why it’s good to become familiar with the fresh, dried, and smoked varieties of chile peppers that you can readily purchase locally. Those are the ones you’ll probably be using the most. This is my favorite chile pepper reference:

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Traditionally, you roast fresh chile peppers, like poblanos, before cooking with them. This process helps remove the thick peel, plus, the roasting adds flavor. After roasting, it’s just a matter of removing the peel, chopping the chiles, and you’re all done. The resulting green chiles are very similar to what you’d find canned, but they are so much better. It’s really worth the time having a poblano roast. And, it makes the house smell good!

First, purchase fresh poblanos that are nice and shiny and firm. Remove any dust or debris on the peppers.

To roast, place 2 or 3 peppers on a gas burner* and turn it on to the highest setting. Don’t overcrowd.
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Let them roast; you’ll hear the popping and sizzling. Move them using long tongs. This is hot work.
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Let them roast on all sides; they will become black and charred. The charring affects the chile peppers in a good way!

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When they are completely roasted, place the peppers in a paper bag. Seal the bag, and set it aside for the peppers to steam-cook. This action loosens the peels. This should take about 20 minutes.

After the chile peppers have cooled, gently rub them by using your hands or paper towels to remove the peels. It’s sort of like peeling a roasted beet, if you’ve done that.

There might be some little bits of char remaining, but that’s ok. That is what adds flavor. Whatever you do, don’t put the peppers under running water to help with peel removal. You will lose the precious, flavorful and pungent chile pepper oil.

After the peels have been removed, remove the stem using a sharp knife and discard. Open up each pepper body and remove the seeds. Personally, I like some seeds, so I’m not extreme about removing every last one. That’s just a personal choice.

Then chop or julienne the chile pepper, depending what size and shape you want. Each poblano pepper yields about 1/4 cup of chopped chiles.

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So now you have freshly roasted green chiles and you can use them in a soup, a stew, a sandwich, a salad, in a salad dressing, in rice, in beans, or in a dip like tomorrow’s post!

If you don’t want to roast raw chile peppers like poblanos, you can dice them up and saute them, just like you would green peppers and onions. Once they soften, the peels aren’t problematic. But roasting results in a far superior product!

* Alternatively, if you don’t have a gas stove, use a high setting on your oven like a 450 degree roast setting, or the broiler.

note: If all you can find are Anaheim peppers, which are longer and a lighter green, these are just as good to use. In fact, Anaheim peppers are what you typically get when you purchase canned green chiles. The roasting process is the same.

25 thoughts on “Poblano Roast

  1. I used to use a burner the same way but found it time consuming and frustrating to stand there and rotate until fully blackened, doing just one pepper at a time.

    Now I have a much easier, quicker, and all around better method.

    Cut the chiles in half lengthwise. Remove seeds, veins, and stem. Force each half chile to lay as flat as you can. It’s OK if you fracture parts of the chile halves as you force them to lay flat. Place on a cookie sheet skin side up. Put them about four inches under the broiler in your oven. After five minutes rotate the cookie sheet. After about 10 minutes they should be well blackened (time will vary from oven to oven). Put them in a plastic bag to cool and loosen the skin. Then proceed as per the instructions in the above article.

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  2. I’m going to try Amazon for a copy of that book, but could I make a post request, a list of the chilli peppers you use, perhaps with a photo, how you use them and their heat rating. Until very recently all we have had available here was the Thai birds eye chillis and a common red and green medium heat variety that might be Indian or Italian in origin and of course sweet chillis. I would really like to learn more!

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  3. That’s how I used to do my green peppers (capsicum/bell peppers) when I had a gas stove. On electric, as in grill, it’s not quite as good. Still far better than just pan-frying them.

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  4. I just adore charred/roasted poblano peppers! Another alternative would be to use your outdoor grill, come warmer weather. But then again, we’ve been known to grill in the snow, lol. I do hope you have an upcoming recipe with these lovely roasted poblanos. :)

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  5. Bell peppers can be prepared in the exact same way. I can get different varieties of fresh chile peppers around here, but no poblano or anaheim. Ours are a lot smalller, like jalapeños but thinner.

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    • I personally don’t think you need to have the whole arsenal of chile peppers available to you to be creative and come up with great tasting dishes. I wish I could try them all out, but I know I never will. I think the Italian pepper is pretty similar to our Banana pepper, which is similar to the Anaheim and Poblano, so they can be used interchangeably for the most part. I’m not talking bell peppers. And yes, I roast bell peppers on the stove the same way.

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  6. I’ve just started roasting eggplants on my gas stove, the smoky flavours are just out of this works. Will try the chillies next, I think I can get the right type here too, bonus.

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