Loaded with flavor and low in sodium…a winning combination!
There are two general steps to preparing roasted chiles: General Chile Roasting Instructions; and Peeling, De-seeding and De-stemming Chiles.
However, if you are making chile rellenos, you’ll want to follow these steps: General Chile Roasting Instructions; and Preparing Chiles for Rellenos.
General Chile Roasting Instructions
While some recipes call for fresh peppers, other such as chile rellenos, salsas and stews often use roasted chiles. Roasting chiles softens and sweetens the flesh, adds a nice smoky flavor, and makes them easy to peel. We suggest two methods for roasting: on the grill and in the oven broiler.
1. Roasting Chiles on a Grill
a) Pre-heat the grill (medium-high heat).
b) Wash the chile pods. Cut a small slit near the stem: this creates a vent for the steam to escape.
c) Place the chiles directly on the grill, turning occasionally with tongs until blistered around (charring is ok).
d) Remove the peppers from the grill. Place in a plastic bag, allow to steam and cool for 30 minutes. You can also put them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a plate to steam and cool.
2. Roasting Chiles in a Broiler*
a) Wash the chile pods. Cut a small slit near the stem: this creates a vent for the steam to escape.
b) Place the chiles on a foil-lined baking sheet; slide the chiles into the oven, placing them on the rack directly under the broiler/heat element. (If using an electric oven, you may need to keep the door slightly open; in some ovens, the heat element can turn off if the oven reaches a certain temperature.)
c) When the peppers have “blistered” on top, slide the rack out and turn the chiles with tongs; the goal is to roast all sides evenly (again, charring is ok).
d) Remove the chiles from the oven and place in a plastic bag or covered bowl to steam and cool for 30 minutes.
2.a Peeling, De-seeding and De-stemming Chiles*
For most recipes, the only part of the chile that is used is the chile’s flesh; discard the stems (unless you want to keep them for visual aesthetics) and seeds. Note, the hottest part of the pepper is the white pith of placental tissue that holds the seeds (not the seeds themselves). This is where the highest concentration of capsaicin is found – the substance that gives chiles their heat. To reduce the heat level, you can remove the veins/ribs from the inner wall.
a) Gently peel away the skin, rinsing with running water to remove remaining bits or char (if desired). We like to leave some char on to add flavor to the dish.
b) To remove the stem and seeds, simply slice around the edge of the stem and pull it away from the pod. Then slice the pepper from top to bottom, fold open and remove remaining seeds.
*Note: we recommend using gloves just to avoid direct hand to eye contact after handling the chiles (if capsaicin is on your fingers, it can cause temporary burning of the eyes).
2.b Preparing Chiles for Rellenos
For chile rellenos, the pepper should be kept whole and remove only the seeds.
a) Slice from the top to the tip on one side, leaving the stem and tip intact.
b) Gently open the pepper with the knife and your fingers.
c) Using kitchen shears or a paring knife, cut the seedpod out just above the seed line, or gently scoop out with a spoon.
d) Cut any strands as you pull the seedpod out, as they could tear the pepper. Remove the rest of the seeds with a spoon and your fingers (it is ok if a few seeds remain).