It's chili season in Colorado! And we've had the chili roaster out every week, roasting up beautiful Pueblo and Hatch chilies. Our freezer is stocked up and ready for winter so that we don't have to go a long, cold winter without our beloved chilies. If you plan on stocking up this season we have a few chili tips!
The color of the chili is NOT an indicator of heat. A red chili just means that the chili was on the plant longer, not that it is hotter. The heat is determined by the actual plant and can also be impacted by weather and a number of other factors, but not color. A green chili can be just as hot as a red chili! And we like the hot ones!!
Buy fully grown chilies with thicker skin. This will help ensure two things; that the flesh of the pepper is fully developed and you get nice plump peppers and that they will be easier to skin. We found that the Pueblo chilies this year were more developed, plumper and all around tastier than the Hatch. See the image below - the Pueblo chilies are the plump, larger chilies and the Hatch are the smaller. They were quite a challenge to skin and didn't leave a lot of pepper flesh for cooking. Go for the Pueblo chilies - and the festival is right around the corner!
Roast them until the skins are nice and charred. Make sure not to stop when just a small section is blackened, but the WHOLE pepper. This will help develop the roasted flavor, and again, make them easier to skin.
You can roast peppers a variety of ways. If you're crazy for peppers like us, you can buy a chili roaster for your own use on Amazon HERE. Or you can also use your grill, broiler or even your gas cook top. Just crank up the heat, thrown them on dry and let them go until charred, turn and repeat. Make sure not to add oil to your peppers before roasting!
Here comes the hard part...The peppers are roasted and now they need to be cleaned. So how to you get the skins off easily?
1. Make sure that you got a char on the entire outside of the pepper. If you still have fresh green spots on your pepper the skin is going to stick and will not slide off.
2. Place the peppers in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes. The condensation will help the skins slide right off! Or, one of my other favorite ways is to place them in a plastic shopping bag, tie it up tight and throw it in the freezer for a few minutes!
3. When you are cleaning the chilies, make sure to remove the skins in a downward motion. Going against the pepper can make it tear.
4. Wear gloves! Especially if you are working with HOT chilies. The gloves will help protect your hands from the chili oil. And NEVER touch your face while you are cleaning chilies.
5. Removing the seeds is up to you! The seeds and the membranes contain 70% of the heat of the chili, so if you like hot chilies leave them in. If you like them mild, just slide your finger down the chili to make an opening, lay them with the inside facing up and lightly run a knife over the chili to remove the seeds and membrane.
Now that your chilies are cleaned it time to preserve them. Our favorite way is to freeze them. We weigh them out in 8 ounce batches, place them in baggies, squeeze out all the air, roll up the baggie and freeze. This way they are in nice, tight little packages that won't take up much room in the freezer and it helps avoid freezer burn. And don't forget to label them with the date, heat and quantity! This will help when you're trying to remember exactly how much you put in each bag in February when you're craving green chili!
If you're a canner, you can also process them in a pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure for 35 minutes. Just sterilize, dice up your peppers, place into jars with your canning funnel, top with water, add salt if desired and off you go! Green chilies in your cabinet all winter long and no need to buy the tasteless little cans at the store.
Here's a great video to get your on your way. Dave & Joanie Roast Some Peppers! I know you're all going right on Amazon to grab yourself a roaster!!
And if that wasn't enough to get you spiced up for chili season, check out this weeks article in the Gazette:
Colorado Pueblo Chiles Spark Fiery Debate
Recognize that roaster (and the hand?)! Yep, were were honored to do some food photos and the chili shot for the main image. And Teresa Farney gives you great tips and info on Pueblo Chilies, PLUS you can get two of Dave's recipes.
And because we just really can't get enough, here are EIGHT brand new Roasted Green Chili recipes that we hope you'll love. Yes, EVERY recipe below includes our favorite roasted pepper! Phew - I told you we were all about chilies this week! The freezer is stocked and we can't wait for our next upcoming chili classes to get you as excited about these regional favorites as we are. We have the Roasted Green Chili Fever!!