Midwestern Meats

OVEN ROASTING METHOD

  • You can roast several peppers at once with easy cleanup. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Lay peppers on their sides on the foil, stems pointing sideways.
  • Put baking sheet in oven and allow peppers to roast for 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet. Using tongs, give the peppers a half turn, then place back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
  • Check to make sure peppers have fully roasted. The skin should be charred and soft, and the peppers should look slightly collapsed. If they don't look ready, let them roast for a few more minutes. When they're done, remove baking sheet from oven.
  • You can also use your oven broiler to roast the peppers, which is a faster process that chars them more than regular oven roasting. While it goes faster, you also have to be on top of it, as the peppers will need frequent turning during the process. If you wish to broil the peppers, I suggest placing the rack in the upper third of the oven so there is 8-9 inches between the broiling element and the peppers. That way, the peppers will be able to soften as they char. When they're too close to the broiler, they will char before they're cooked, which means the flesh won't soften and they'll be harder to peel.

SEEDING AND PEELING YOUR PEPPERS

  • Once you have roasted your peppers, you will need to seed and peel them. This is kind of a messy process, but it's well worth the effort. Note that some people like to seed their peppers before roasting. When I have tried this in the past, the results have not been as good as when I keep the whole pepper intact during roasting-- I recommend roasting the peppers whole and seeding after the roast.
  • Slice the pepper vertically from top to bottom and lay the pepper open so it becomes one long strip. Pull the stem from the top of the pepper. The stem and a clump of seeds should loosen easily. Use a towel or paper towel to wipe off any loose seeds that remain inside the pepper.
  • Flip the pepper over to reveal the skin side. Strip off the charred skin. If you want a more charred flavor, you can leave a few small blackened bits on the skin.
  • Alternatively, you can seed and skin the pepper under running water, which will make it easier to get the pepper flesh clean. I prefer not to do this, because I feel the pepper loses some flavor in the process-- but if you're in a hurry and don't want to mess up your hands too much, it's an option.
  • Once you've peeled and seeded your peppers, you'll end up with soft, sweet, tasty pepper flesh.
  • If you want to store the peppers for future use, put them in a glass jar and cover them with olive oil. You can also add a clove or two of garlic to the jar, this will infuse the peppers with a garlicky flavor. Cap the jar tightly and refrigerate. If you don't plan on using them within a week, freeze the roasted pepper strips in Ziploc bags... they actually hold up well to freezing and retain much of their flavor when thawed.
  • Roasted peppers can be used in a variety of recipes, or snacked on as-is dressed with salt and pepper. They can be added to stews and pasta sauces or chopped into salsa. They can even be mixed with fresh basil and olive oil to create a peppery bruschetta. 

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