Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Local Joy: Fire Roasted Poblano Peppers

Mole sauce... pumpkin poblano corn pudding... pineapple poblano salsa... polenta with mixed pepper sauce... caramelized onion & poblano enchiladas...

It's not difficult to admit that I'm a huge fan of roasted poblanos. 

However, I'm a little bit hesitant to admit that it's almost therapeutic for me to venture out in the midst of winter to pick up a few imported poblanos from the Mexican grocer & throw them underneath the broiler to give them a good char.  The roasty toasty smell of the peppers, combined (if I'm fortunate) with the refreshing taste of one of Peef's famous margaritas, transports me somewhere far away from the Wisconsin winter snow -- and to a place that's almost, well, tropical.  Best of all, a couple of the sweet roasted peppers pull in an awful lot of flavor into an otherwise bland winter dish -- saving me from the winter cooking doldrums.

But, we've been trying to commit to eating more and more locally as time wears on.  So, a couple of Saturdays ago, I decided to take the bull by the horns and head off those mid-winter temptations.  We headed off to the farmer's market in search of a small goldmine of those lovely green peppers. About fifteen minutes and $10 later, I had myself a half a bushel of them -- and I was pretty excited to get home.

Originally, I planned to roast the peppers in the oven, before peeling off the charred skin, extracting the seeds, and packing the peppers into containers to pop them into the freezer.  But, it occurred to me that there was an even better way to deal with a boatload of peppers.
It might sound silly, but pulling out the charcoal grill was a bit of a revelation.  First of all, I don't think I realized quite how much time we'd save (the direct flame really goes to work on the peppers, and chars them in about half the time).  I also didn't exactly think about all of that sensual, smoky flavor that would be imparted to the peppers from the hardwood charcoal.  But, as the peppers roasted, I found myself feeling a little bit giddy. And, as I stood over the island, scraping charred bits of skin and seeds from the green flesh,  I started to envision the roasted poblano rice... the chiles rellenos... and the southwestern corn chowder made with poblanos & frozen grilled corn... And, by the time we'd packed all of the peppers away, I was seriously stoked.

Even if I'm not particularly looking forward to that first winter snow storm, I'm definitely looking forward to pulling some of these babies out of the freezer in mid-winter.  Talk about therapy...

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14 comments:

  1. I love being ale to pull local vegetables & fruit I've preserved from the pantry or freezer in the winter.

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  2. Mmmmm. I want these, and a famous margarita! I roast up a lot of red peppers for the freezer, but you convinced me to do poblano peppers too - just when I thought I was almost done preserving...

    (Great idea using the grill too, I wouldn't have thought of that. I only have the gas grill at the moment, but maybe I can borrow one.)

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  3. Sounds like you feel about peppers the way that I feel about pesto. Which is why my freezer is loaded with it. Good call my friend. Good. Call.

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  4. oh yeah that looks great. Stuff those with chorizo!

    I was planning on doing the same thing this year but I wasn't successful growing poblanos in my garden this year. boo!

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  5. That is definitely a tantalizing smell--anything roasting on the grill. It's actually impressive that you can even step foot outside during the
    Wisconsin winter. You guys must be having a 'heat spell'. :)

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  6. I can never resist the baskets of poblanos at the farmers market. I'm jealous of your frozen poblano bounty. My current fave is to throw a roasted poblano in with the tomatillos for salsa. I'd love to hear about your roasted poblano rice when you get around to it.

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  7. Never realized that roasted green peppers could taste this good :-)

    Sawadee from Bangkok,
    Kris

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  8. love, love, love roasted poblanos. Was just looking at mine in the freezer thinking of green chili!
    Yum!!

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  9. Wow, I'm jealous you can get locally grown poblanos. Even here in Austin, I never see them at farmers' markets. We get lots of other chiles but never poblanos. Hope you'll post how use these roasted lovelies!

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  10. @Lisa - Very surprised you can't find local poblanos. Apparently Austin isn't as awesome as I had thought! ;) Rest assured, we will definitely post recipes in the coming months.

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  11. Oh, wow. Your intro had me crying -- it all sounds beautiful to me. I AM a fan of roasted poblanos. In the summer we have them locally grown of course (in a good year, we have them in our own garden) but pepper season has pretty much wound down here. Lovely post, lovely photos. And yum! Can't wait for the recipes.

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  12. Oh beautiful! I love roasted peppers. In fact I had some roasted jalapenos last night. Happy autumn :)

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  13. Thanks for the post! I'm in Northern Wisconsin right now, trying to figure out what to do with the poblanos I was able to grow. They are small, but yummy.

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