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Roasting and Peeling

When it’s New Mexico green chile season, (August-October) you can get fresh green chile pods and/or you can buy them already roasted. In New Mexico and parts of Texas you’ll see big propane roasters in parking lots roasting the green chile as fund raisers or drawing customers to grocery stores. But also for New Mexico green chile fans, part of the experience is to roast your own and enjoy the aroma.

Roasting the green chile

There are a number of ways to do this, and it’s difficult to go wrong. The goal is to remove the tough outer skin from the pod. Applying heat separates the skin from the flesh of the chile. Using various dry heat sources to blister the pods causes caramelization which brings even more flavor to the party.

Outdoor grill method: Place chiles on a charcoal or gas grill above high heat. Remove once skin has blistered.

Oven or broiler method: Put the green chiles in a hot oven or broiler until skin blisters away from the flesh of the chile.

Range-top method: If you have a gas burner you can just fire one up and blister chiles with the flame. If you have electric burners you can cover them with heavy wire mesh, then heat the pods until they blister.

Cast iron method: Heat the skillet or comal. Place several chiles on it, and turn them as they blacken.

Steaming method: You won’t get the caramelization, but the skin will separate from the flesh. Put the chiles in a vegetable steamer for 20-30 minutes.

Peeling the green chile
When you’ve got the chiles blistered black all over, put them in a plastic or paper bag for about 15 minutes. Take out and remove the skin. Rubbing them under cool water takes the skin right off. You can also get them into the freezer right away. When you remove and thaw them they are even easier to peel.

Freezing the green chile
Freeze as soon as possible if you’re not going to use them right away. Some folks will completely prep the pods, cutting the stems off and removing the seeds. Put them in plastic bags that can lie flat for faster freezing.

You can also put chopped green chile into an ice tray. Once it is frozen, pop the chile cubes into a freezer bag. That is an easy way to get the wonderful flavor of New Mexico green chile into stews, soups, beans and of course cauldillo.

11 thoughts on “Roasting and Peeling”

  1. A Google search turned up several New Mexico chile companies selling and shipping roasters but they all seemed to point back to the same manufacturer. Here is a link.
    You can order on-line or talk to them via a toll-free telephone number 888-336-4228. I do not know this company, I’m not endorsing them, just passing along the information.

  2. was wondering who I could speak to about purchasing a roaster like the one shown in this video? Thanks.


  3. Second season I’ve tried to roast green chiles (Big Jim’s, I’m sure)and cannot get the skins to peel despite proper blistering. If I let them steam too long will that overcook the flesh and make it stick to the skin? BTW, am able to use the pulp to great effect, but would really like to have some intact peppers for rellenos and meaty dice for salsas.

  4. You have to roast them to where they are practically black, then throw them in a paper bag for a half hour or so to finish steaming. After that, the skins should slide off under running water.
    My father-in-law would rely on the bread crumb coating with beaten eggs to hold rellenos together. A lot of Tex-Mex restaurants use poblano peppers for rellenos because they are sturdier. But they don’t have that Hatch New Mexico flavor. Keep experimenting, it’ll happen for you.

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