Chiles are a Mexican food staple and can be dated as far back as the Aztecs and Mayans where they were a major part of their diet along with tomatoes, corn, and squash. A lot of the available food sources did not have much flavor, so they added chiles to help season them. They ate chiles with almost every meal, even adding them to their cocoa to make a chile-chocolate drink.
- Green Chiles as called for in your recipe, such as poblano, Hatch, Anaheim, California or other local green chile.
- The chiles should be large in size, about four to nine inches long. (You can also roast smaller chiles such as jalapeno or serrano, but they are better in smaller quantities for salsa and other flavorings.)
- Begin by preparing your heat source. You will need something extremely hot to char the chiles with.
- An open flame, such as a grill, is best but you can also roast them in a hot pan or under a broiler.
- Turn up the heat and begin roasting the chiles by turning them frequently over the heat source. Roast them until the skins are blackened and blistering.
- The skins do not need to be solid black, just blackened in areas and the rest of the skin should appear loosened and browned.
- It should take about 10 minutes over an open flame or in a broiler, and 15-20 minutes if you roast them in a pan.
Steaming the Chiles(optional)
- Once the skin is thoroughly charred, remove the chiles from the heat source and into a bowl.
- Cover the bowl loosely so that the hot roasted chiles create a steam. You can cover the bowl with aluminum foil, a lid, or a dish towel.
- Let the chiles steam for about 10 minutes. This helps to loosen the skins even more, but this step can be skipped if time is of the essence.
Preparing the Chiles
- When the chiles have cooled enough to where you can touch them, begin peeling of the skin. The skin should peel off easily, but if it is being stubborn, you can run it under warm water while peeling.
- This will remove some of the chiles flavorful oils and should only be done if the skin is very hard to remove.
- If you are using the green chiles for rellenos (stuffed chiles) use a knife to cut a two-inch slit from the stem and down the side and use a spoon to carefully scoop out the seeds. Roasted chiles tear very easily so go slowly and take your time.
- If you're using the chiles for anything else, you can cut the stem portion off and then slit the remaining chile down the entire side and open it up.
- Use a spoon to scrape the seeds off. Discard the seeds and stems and use the roasted green chile in your recipe.
All chiles start out green, and then as they mature, they change color to yellow, orange, red or purple. Green chiles are picked as soon as they reach their full size, but before they begin to change color.
They are usually roasted before using them in recipes to impart a smoky flavor as well as soften them and make the skin easy to remove. Roasted green chiles can be chopped up and used as a topping for Mexican dishes such as tacos and enchiladas, or more commonly they are used in Mexican soups (posole, chile verde) or in salsa (salsa verde.)