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About roasting Poblanos…..

October 9, 2011

Roasting Poblano peppers

The recipes I found for Poblanos all recommended roasting the peppers prior to use in the prescribed dish.

I’ve roasted green bell peppers before and I recall seeing several similar versions of the same process for roasting and subsequently skinning the pepper.

Poblanos had a few variations of similar processes as well, so I figured I’d decide on one, test it and post the results here.

First, what are the common steps in roasting larger peppers?
1- High direct radiant heat from a flame or broiler to blister /blacken the skin
2- Steaming the hot peppers immediately after step 1; the heat retained by the peppers is sufficient if sealed in a small container until cool
3- Removing the skin and seed from the cooled peppers (and then use as recipe directs).

Step 1:

I have used oil on bell peppers as some recipes suggest. I used corn oil even though I like the flavor of olive oil better. Why? Olive oil has a relatively low smoke point in comparison the other “cooking” oils. This not only leaves a better flavor imhp, it keep the kitchen from filling with smoke should you be roasting indoors under the broiler.

I noted that the poblano roasting recipes I found didn’t mention oil; a couple said to rinse the peppers immediately prior and put the on the grill (or under the broiler) while still wet. Given the temperature the peppers would be subjected to during the roasting, it seemed to me that the water would evaporate so quickly that it really wouldn’t make any difference. Regardless, this allows you to skip drying the peppers off beforehand, so I endorse this practice strictly for the convenience.

I’ve roasted 4 different ways so far:

1. Over a gas burner in the kitchen
2. Under the broiler in the kitchen
3. On the gas grill over a flame with the top open
4. On the gas grill over a flame with the top closed

My preferred method is in the reverse order of the list.

Method 1 blisters only a little at a time and doesn’t allow the pepper to retain as much hear for the steaming session. If you are only doing one or two this works well enough; I wouldn’t say the roast flavor is as good/strong as the other methods.
Method 2 is a little better; the oven temperature will be high enough so that the peppers will retain heat and steam well. The downside is that you will put some smoke out into your kitchen, more if you oil the pepper prior. (To blister evenly the hotter the heat source the better btw. )
Method 3 is good; unfortunately I haven’t taken the time to clean the gas ports in the burners of my grill in a couple years so the flames aren’t evenly distributed. This makes a difference since there is a temperature variance across the surface of the grill; with the top up this makes for a lot of pepper rolling and moving around to get them all done at roughly the same rate and to the same degree.
Method 4 is my favorite, especially if I have a large number of peppers on hand to roast. Closing the top gives me the highest temperatures and consequently evens out the heat distribution across the surface of the grill. The peppers are very hot when the come off the grill and the “steaming” session is shorter than any of the methods.

General thoughts on how charred to get the skins:

After trial and error, I believe that a nearly uniformly black or dark brown skin is best. Why?
1- Flavor: if done quickly the “meat” retains a nice aroma that isn’t a “burned” taste as one might expect.
2- Ease of pealing/removing the skin. Anything that isn’t at least brown or blistered is not easily peeled. It’s not a recipe killer to have a few spots with skin left on them; it’s just takes longer to skin.

Step 2: “Self” steaming the hot roasted peppers

One think I learned quickly is that if you completely seal the hot peppers in a ziplock or a bowl with plastic wrap stretched over the top, then leave until cool enough to touch, the peppers will be cooked and completely limp. This may be desirable in some dishes but my personal preference it to leave them with a little more firmness or “body” than this.

My compromise is to put them in a mixing bowl and cover with a cookie sheet. This won’t seal as tightly as the methods described in the previous paragraph and therefore the peppers will cool faster and cook less. If the recipe calls for additional much additional oven time I’ll rinse the peppers off with cool water to stop the cooking after they’ve steamed a few minutes.

Step 3: Removing the skin

If the skins are evenly and sufficiently blistered/ charred, skin is easily removed. However, it seems like it still takes me more time than it should regardless, so plan your prep time appropriately.
I wear latex or nitrile gloves when I remove the skins and seeds. Poblanos aren’t as hot as the jalapenos I also grow and like, but they will still make it uncomfortable if you touch and eye or rub your nose. I don’t ever do it if I wear the gloves; likewise my hands are free of any lingering hot oils afterwards.

Basically I start with a charred section then work down the length of the pepper, rotate and repeat. It really isn’t anything too difficult. I rinse my gloved hands periodically for better “traction” with my finger tips.

To remove the poblano seeds, I insert a knife tip near the stem and open the pepper lengthwise to the bottom tip. There are three sinewy tethers running from the seed cluster to the bottom of the pepper wall; each of these need to be cut before the top of the pepper is removed.

A quick rinse and the peppers are ready to go.

In pictures:

Rinsed poblanos, left damp and ready for the preheated grill:

On the grill (this was an “open grill” effort; note the back of the grate is hotter than the front.

Over the flame:

Rolled over a couple minutes later, note the blisters:

Closer, with a flash:

Moved to the front one by one as they are fairly well blistered:

In a tupperware then covered for the steaming (note, I have decided that just a little more charred is better vs the condition these are in) :


All peeled and ready for de-seeding:

De-seeded, ready for stuffing or? ( The front left was torn up a bot and was pulled aside.) :

Stuffed with a nice rice/vegetable mix (plus cheese), baked for a little while then covered with chopped fresh cilantro. Nom nom nom……

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Pitmaster permalink
    October 9, 2011 9:30 pm

    Roasting over coals burned from hardwoods is great but not quite as convent. Charcoal also works. In addition to gloves I use a paper towel to take the skin off. The paper towel grabs a little better since they have some texture and absorb a little moisture.

    • October 9, 2011 9:53 pm

      Dang that makes sense. Why didn’t I think of that?

  2. October 10, 2011 4:45 am

    I never thought of using those shredder scissors to chop up veggies. Great idea.

    • October 10, 2011 6:22 am

      I only used them for the cilantro- they are pretty quick to clog up with too much “input” .

  3. October 10, 2011 5:55 am

    I’ve roasted a lot of peppers, use wood or charcoal for most cooking, and don’t have a gas grill.

    • October 10, 2011 6:26 am

      Yeah I figured a gas grill would be a little pedestrian for someone who has put together a powerpoint on how to butcher a hog.
      The simple paper towel trick was what I was referring to- too easy.

  4. October 10, 2011 4:37 pm

    Great directions here for roasting poblanos. I tried to merely bake my Ancho 101 poblanos from my garden, then stuff them, but they were too floral and not great tasting, Once I fire roasted them, they were much more delicious. Try this same method with anaheims or numex chiles, great flavor!

    • October 10, 2011 4:55 pm

      I would if I had some. 😉
      For the hell of it, I threw a single jalapeno on with a batch last night, just to see what it tasted like, The skin blackened and came off in one big piece; the flavor of the firm “flesh” underneath was excellent as a snack.

  5. Pitmaster permalink
    October 11, 2011 7:31 am

    One of my favorite ways to use roasted peppers is to put them on cheeseburgers with cheddar cheese. I don’t mind heat so I frequently grab jalapenos and use them.

    I have a small propane torch that I have used to blister 1 pepper at a time. I have also roasted them in a hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil. Add some thick onion slices or green onions and you are good to go.

    • October 11, 2011 6:11 pm

      Damn PM you have the good ideas. 😉

      I’ve eaten poblanos in some form 3 days in a row now.

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