Roasted Green Chiles

Many years ago we lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Honestly, at the time, folks in the midwest didn’t know where New Mexico was. They kept getting it confused with a country. In addition to the light and the landscape it was the food that amazed me. Ordering enchiladas at a  restaurant was not a simple decision. First it was the color of the tortilla, “Red, white, blue or yellow?” Then you had to choose the flavor of the sauce, “Red or green?” Albuquerque and Santa Fe taught me the nuances of the humble chile pepper. Harvest when green roast until charred and you have the foundation for a smoky green sauce. Let the chiles  mellow until bright red, string them together and hang in the sun. The ristra will supply you with chiles for a red sauce all winter. It’s the same New Mexican chile pepper with different flavors.

Here in Ohio we can forget hanging red chile peppers on our doorways. Gloomy skies and wet winters would rot the chiles before they ever dried. Roasting  green chiles over an open fire in a big drum is too much trouble.  The chance of finding a vendor along the roadside selling fresh roasted green chiles is – zero. A simpler way is to roast them yourself in the oven.

Harvest when green, wash, dry and lay out the whole peppers on a foil lined pan. Broil them close to the burner until they are charred. This is a quick process. Watch the peppers closely and turn them frequently to prevent burning. When each pepper is charred beautifully remove it from the pan and place in a paper bag. Your collection of small, medium and large peppers will cook at different times so it’s a work flow of removing some and cooking others a little longer.

When all of the chiles are roasted throw them in a paper sack and close it up. This makes the process of removing the outer skin much easier. When the chiles are cool, slit them open, remove and discard the seeds and peel. Your roasted green chiles are ready for the freezer or the saucepan.