How to Roast Green Chiles over a Gas Flame

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Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Green chiles—Hatch, Anaheim, poblanos—are staples of southwestern cooking, and almost every recipe that uses them requires that they be roasted first. To roast a green chile you need to char the outside peel, without burning the inside, and then remove the char. The easiest way to do this for a small batch is over an open flame of a gas stove.

You can also char them on a grill, or under a broiler. You can even char them on an electric range (my mother has been known to put the chiles directly on the electric coil, though probably set on a sturdy metal roasting rack a little bit above the coil would work with less mess.)

The secret to roasting a chile pepper is to char or blister the skin all over, so the skin is easy to peel off. My mother prefers charring the chiles over a gas stove to her (electric) broiler because cooking directly over the flame chars the peel faster and doesn’t overcook the chile. To show you how easy this is to do, we’ve put together a short video, take a look!

How to Roast Green Chiles over a Gas Flame

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  • Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • Raw chile peppers - anaheim, Hatch, poblano, or jalapeño

Method

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1 Turn on your gas burner on to the highest setting. Balance the chile pepper directly on the metal grates over the gas burner. Let the chile pepper sit on the burner as its skin begins to bubble and turn black (about a minute).

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2 Once one side of the chile gets well blistered, use tongs (or if you can, grab the stem with your fingers) to turn the chile to another side. Repeat until the chile gets blistered or charred on all sides. Obviously you need to pay close attention to the chile. It should just blister and char a bit, not catch fire.

Using this method you can roast several chiles at the same time. At least 2 per burner, and you can have a couple burners going at once.

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3 Place the chile in a bowl and cover with a plate (or put the chile in a brown paper bag and close the bag). Let the chiles sit for 5 or 10 minutes. The steam from the hot chile will help the peel come off more easily.

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4 Remove the chile from the bowl. Use your fingers or a damp towel or damp paper towel to rub off the charred peel. You may find it easier to do this over a sink, because it can get rather messy. Try to avoid running water over the chile itself, as doing so may wash away some of the chile's flavor. Make a slice into the side of the chile and cut away and discard the stem, seeds, and veins.

Place in a covered container and refrigerate. Will keep for several days in the fridge. Or you can place in a freezer bag, press out the air, and freeze. Frozen chiles will last for several months.

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If you really love freshly roasted chiles, and want to roast more than a couple at a time, I recommend the following chile pepper/tortilla roaster from Sur la Table. I have one and use it all the time. It makes a great gift for the chile lover in your life. (I make no commission from sales on this, I'm just sharing it because I like it!)

chile-roaster

Showing 4 of 26 Comments

  • Brokenit

    Why do you par roast and skin the peppers when one can put them into any recipe one likes by merely by slicing or chopping and then cooking it in ?

    I do not understand the motivation for removing the skin as it is perfectly edible as it is. How does roasting it differ from cooking it in from raw ?

  • Matty

    Hi Elise
    I’ve been stuffing peppers with oxtail meat – Pimientos Verdes Rellenos con Carne de Rabo. Roast and skin the peppers and then stuff with the meat and bake. Excellent. The recipe is from Menu del Dia by Rohan Daft

  • Gerardo

    In addition to the good ways you describe for working with chiles, I would suggest that anytime you want to handle peppers, regardless of what type they are, rub some cooking oil on your hands BEFORE handling them. That will protect your skin from the chile juices, avoiding the burning sensation. After finishing cooking, you can just wash your hands in the regular way, then use some hand lotion and the chile smell will go away.

  • Michele

    Please be careful doing this – some people with respiratory problems like asthma should not try it as the fumes will trigger an attack. I have extremely mild asthma and did not expect anything like the shortness of breath and coughing I experienced. I could not get my breath and had to use my inhaler two times, plus coughed most of the day. Too bad because the pepper was delicious!! (what we suffer for good food!)

  • Patti

    Is there any recipe for roasting the peppers, then keeping them in olive oil in the fridge or pantry? I have an enormous amount of peppers in my garden and need to find a good way to preserve them.

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