Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Roasting Peppers indoors

Roasted peppers. They just sound good, if you ask me. Really roasted pretty much anything & I'm a happy camper.

Have you ever spent $4 to $7 on a jar of roasted red bell peppers, eaten & enjoyed them of course, then thought, Geeze, what the heck did I spend so much money on? Its just a pepper, right??

Yup. You're right. Its just a pepper. Someone did about 5 minutes of work for you and charged you $5 for that work. And theres usually 2 peppers in the jar, max. Oh, I forgot, they put it in a jar with some preservatives and junk too, thanks, I was looking for extra chemicals in my peppers! What a rip off!

Most of the time bell peppers run about $1 each here. I can find them cheaper sometimes and when I do I stock up. But what do you do with 12 bell peppers? There's only so many stuffed bell peppers one family can eat, and after a week of sneaking them into everything I make I'm kinda over them. The answer is roast and freeze them.

You can roast ANY pepper, from sweet red bells to the spicy chilies and anything in between. Roasting really brings out the best in a pepper, it enhances the natural sweetness and brings a smoky flavor to your dish. I roast all my peppers before using them whenever possible, it adds an additional depth of flavor to my food and gives everything a nice chef like touch. And, since you remove the skin from a roasted pepper, you won't have curled up chewy pepper skins in your meal. An added bonus indeed.

Roasting peppers

Turn your broiler on (HI setting if you have an option). Put peppers onto a sheet pan.

Put the sheet pan in the oven on the top rack closest to the broiler. Close the door and wait about 2-3 minutes. You want the skin to be blackened and blistered. Once it starts to blacken flip peppers over (using tongs) and continue to blacken on all sides.

When all sides are black, remove peppers to a smallish bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The steam from the peppers will help steam off the skins, making removal easy. Allow to sit in the bowl about 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle.

Scrape off skins using your hands or the back side of a knife. Open pepper, remove the seed pod, shaking out seeds. Cut the veins out if you want less heat. Rinse briefly to remove any remaining charred skins and seeds, but don't go overboard here, you want some of the black to stay, that's your roasted flavor.

My knife is removing the vein, this helps reduce spiciness of hot peppers. In bell peppers remove this part as its very pithy, sponge like and tends to be bitter. Not to mention that its just not pretty.

For long term storage I freeze my peppers. They'll last fresh in the fridge for about 7 days, frozen up to 6 months. Since I don't have a blast freezer where I can IQF (individually quick freeze, like the factories do) I have to improvise. Here's how the Witch does it.

Line a sheet pan with plastic wrap. This makes for easy clean up. Take 1 roasted & seeded pepper and lay it out open on the sheet tray. Repeat for as many peppers you have. Put the sheet tray into your freezer and allow peppers to freeze until solid. Remove frozen peppers from tray and put into freezer storage bags, squeezing out as much air as possible. You can put sheets of parchment between frozen peppers if desired to make removal of single peppers easier. Remove the plastic wrap from the sheet pan & its ready to be used again, no muss no fuss :)

Don't you want to just peel that blackend skin away? I sure do!


Anonymous said...

YUM! And this sounds so easy, I think even I can handle it! - Neal

Jenn said...

I love roasted peppers...they can add so much flavor to a dish!

Tonya said...

I should have done this last fall when my one jalapeno plant had about 50 peppers on it! So much easier than I thought it would be.

Erin @ OneParticular Kitchen said...

Brilliant! I dehydrated and froze peppers from the garden this year but was wishing for a better way. I'll definitely try this!

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