Friday, February 10, 2012

Roasted Peppers

Charred Poblanos
After FoodBlog South a couple of weekends ago, I decided I really wanted to start developing my own recipes to share. There was a great session with Virginia Willis discussing a general how-to of recipe development (she should know - her books have some of my favorite recipes). It was a lot more complex than I originally thought it would be. It actually made me want to develop my own even more. I enjoy using other people's recipes, and will continue to do so and occasionally post about them. But I assumed that creating my own recipe from nothing other than the basic knowledge of a food type would be more gratifying than using a recipe in existence and changing it some. I was right.
I got an idea when someone said online that they were thinking about making a poblano and corn chowder for dinner. So I started working on a recipe - a Poblano Chicken Chowder. I developed a great recipe, which I will post this weekend. One of the first things I decided was that I would fire-roast my poblano peppers to give them a smoky, earthy flavor. So before I post about the chowder itself, I thought I would do a quick run-down of roasting peppers.

Roasting the Peppers
The best way to roast peppers is over an open flame. You can do it in an oven, but it is a lot easier and more fragrant over open flame. I just use the gas burner eye on the side of my grill. Use tongs to hold it - be aware that if you use metal tongs and hold the metal over the flame too long, you'll probably get burned. I wear a glove. You want to do it quickly, so don't be afraid to get the pepper down in the fire and hold it there. Get each side nice and charred. The pictures is a little washed out from the flash (it was dark outside), but you can see how the peppers begin to look as they roast. The flesh should begin to blister and peel. Once all sides have charred like the first picture above, bring them inside to cool off a bit.

While they are still warm, you can run a knife across them and the charred flesh will peel right off. Don't run them under water to clean them as this will take some of the flavor away. I slice into them vertically. The meat is really softened inside, and it's easy to take the seeds out. You can actually just pull the middle with all the seeds right out. They're very easy to work with at this point, and have that wonderful flavor added to the pepper. This is great to do with peppers that you will be using in soups or other cooked dishes. It's also really great to do if you are making your own hot sauce. It makes sure that the sauce will be flavorful and not just hot. I'm looking forward to using roasted peppers in different kinds of dishes - and you'll get the recipe this weekend for the Poblano Chicken Chowder.

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