Roasted Chile Peppers Chef Tips for Home Cooks

Roasted chilli peppersRoasting chile peppers, is a great way to enhance their flavour.  The roasting adds a great smoky flavour, changes the texture, and removes the tough skin.  You can roast any chile pepper, Poblanos, Anaheims/New Mexican, Jalapenos, even bell peppers.  Its pretty simple to do, and the end result is a much more delicious dish.  Believe me when I say I’ve roasted a lot of peppers in my day.  In the restaurant, we have to roast a case (25#) of poblanos every morning along with 20-30 pounds of jalapenos (we also roast the onions for our salsa, its great).  We roast a case of Anaheim or New Mexican Chiles (depending on the season) every other day.  Since I roast 50+ pounds of chiles every day, I use a conveyor oven at work, but I think the grill or gas burner gives the best flavour.

There are endless ways to roast a pepper.  Basically, all you need is a heat source and a chile pepper.  You can use your grill (mmmm flame roasted) your oven set on broil at its highest setting (most practical for home cooks), in a hot fryer, cast iron skillet, or even straight on the stove top.  Whichever method you choose is fine, I’ve roasted chiles using all of the methods at different times.  Coat the chiles with butter or oil and roast using whichever method you prefer (the oil is not necessary, but it will help speed up with roasting process, don’t worry about the extra fat, you are going to wash it off anyway).

poblano on flame 2Roast the chile until the skin is blistered.  You can keep roasting for a deeper, smokier flavour, but be careful with softer chiles.  Anaheims will tend to overcook pretty quickly and will fall apart in your recipes if you over roast them.  You need to roast them on as high of a temperature as possible.  Use the hottest part of your grill, the highest broiler setting on your oven, or straight on the gas burner.

If you take the chile off after it is just blistered, put the chile in a large mixing bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  The heat will steam the chile and the skin will peel right off.  If you take your child to a darker roast for more flavour, dip the chile in an ice water bath to shock the chile and stop it from cooking. This is a nicely roasted poblano after it has cooled in an ice water bath. The skin should peel off really easily.  Cut a slit down the middle and under cool running water, rinse out the seeds and any remaining skin. Anaheim pepper before and after being peeled/seeded.

Average morning for me roasting chiles.  The conveyor belt oven roasts the peppers from the top and bottom and at the end of the conveyor, I have a giant bucket of ice water for them to drop in to. Once peeled, they are ready for use.  Cut them into strips or dice into your favourite recipes.  Be sure to check here often for more recipe ideas.

Chile Toreados

I make Jalapenos tornados for my lunch quite often, its really easy to do. dip the chile (jalapenos are my favourite, but this works with serranos, habaneros and every other type of chile) in melted butter. Grill the chile until the skin is black.  Slice the chile and sprinkle on some seasoning salt and a wedge or 2 of fresh lime juice.  IMO you can’t have Mexican food without chiles torreados.  Add a few slices to a tortilla with some fajita meat and fresh guacamole for a taco that is to die for.


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