How to Roast Green Chiles over a Gas Flame

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

  • Cook time: 10 minutes
Yum

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

  • Ben

    I am from Mexico and ever since I can remember my mom used that method to peel peppers. When I was about 12 I started helping in the restaurant my parents used to own and I sometimes had to roast peppers. So many memories.

    Thanks for sharing this excellent blog.

  • Heather

    I have an electric range as well. When the weather doesn’t permit me to use the gas burner on my grill, I use a kitchen torch to char my peppers. It works well and is a lot more fun than using the broiler.

  • Mike

    I’ve recently switched from the paper bag method to wrapping the roasted pepper in a wet paper towel. After five minutes of steaming and cooling, the paper towel can easily be used to rub off the charred skin.

  • Vicki

    About twice a year I make a huge pot of chili verde, which means I have to roast about 50 Anaheim chilis. For large quantities like that, I pull out the barbecue grill. Crack a beer, pull up a chair, and flip chilis in the afternoon sun.

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