I recently posted a blog about my favorite place to purchase green chile. I had it roasted on site, which is a good thing because I purchased 2- 35lb bags! If you’re in New Mexico that’s great, but if you’re not, you might be wondering how you can get your hands on some and how you should process it without a giant roasting machine. If you google ‘green chile shipped’ you will find quite a few sites that will ship green chile to you but in much smaller quantities. You can get it raw or roasted but it starts to get pricey when you get it roasted. Here are a few resources:
There are some locals who also purchase smaller amounts of chile. To demonstrate this I’m heading to my local Sprouts store. As you can see below you can also purchase large bags of chile at Sprouts and have them roasted on site, but I am interested in chile by the pound.
I’m going to purchase ~ a dozen of these babies.
Raw green chile closely resembles a skinny bell pepper.
Place them in a baking dish or cookie sheet without oil and turn your broiler on or heat up your grill. You want to roast them until they are charred black on both sides. I’ve gone 15 minutes on the first side and then I flipped them. I let them go 15 more minutes but a couple of them had sides that didn’t get charred so I flipped them up and went 5 minutes more.
Next, you will transfer them into a plastic bag. I’m double bagging my Sprouts shopping bag to make sure no steam escapes. Let them steam for at least an hour.
In my previous blog post when I was visiting with other people waiting for their chile to be roasted, I came across a woman who plopped her bags of chile into a cooler and immediately placed a bag of ice on top of them. I found that this method was also very efficient and made the chile easier to handle sooner because it wasn’t so hot. The peeling wasn’t so great for the bag I peeled in an hour but I left one overnight and the skin pretty much fell off. I’ll have to conduct further experiments to determine how much time between the first hour and overnight is sufficient to get this effect.
Before my hour of steaming is up, I’m going to prepare by filling a small bowl with cold water, grabbing a couple of plastic shopping bags for the peels and getting an empty bowl for the freshly peeled chile.
After steaming my chili they look pretty much the same as when they went in the bag. You could peel one right away if you were dying to have a sample but the steaming process really makes it easier to get the skin off.
You don’t always need a bowl of water to peel the chile. These chile skins were coming off in strips very nicely. Sometimes however, it is really hard to get the skin off so you can dunk the chili into the water and scrape the bits off. This is common when it hasn’t been roasted long enough. Also, make sure you wear gloves! This is important because even if you’ve only had minimal contact with the chile, it will burn really bad if you touch your eyes or other sensitive areas. And if you peel a lot, your hands will feel like they are burned at the end of the day.
I would like to point out that my own father and mother-in-law refuse to peel before freezing. They get their chile, let it steam, cool, and then bag it. They defrost one bag at a time and peel it as they go along. This is perfectly ok. However, I cook a lot and I want to be able to thaw a completely peeled, chopped and ready to go product – and that says a little about my OCD personality, but it isn’t necessary.
Before chopping you will want to cutoff the stem. The seeds inside the chile pod add a lot of heat/burn to the chile. For milder chile you can cut off the stems before peeling and rinse out the seeds inside the chile.
In the below images I’ve chopped and bagged these 12 chile peppers I purchased at Sprouts. (As you can see, I like it really hot!!) I chopped them by hand but when I did my large scale harvest, I used my food processor.
If you are going to peel a large bag and have multiple bags to freeze, make sure you put them on a pan or cookie tray first before you stack them, otherwise they will stick together.