It’s easy for me to start a riot, once I know I’ve got my bases covered. In this case I’m happy to encourage a riot over Beaver Dam Roasting Peppers, because after processing the case of peppers I bought on Saturday, I’ve reserved some more.
For some reason, I’ve had a mental block on roasting my own peppers. My commuting milkman usually brings me a case of freshly roasted Hatch Green Chilies on his many drives through New Mexico, but this year he didn’t. Seeing the produce stand at the side of the road this summer with their propane tumbling pepper roaster made me hesitate. I don’t like the idea of propane blasted food, nor the fact that I’m always wondering if the peppers were really washed and most assuredly not organic.
I spoke with my pepper loving friend, Matt from the amazing Thistle Whistle, and he told me that their Beaver Dam roasting peppers were his favorite pepper they grow. I was stumped because most people roast their peppers on an outdoor grill, which I was not able to do, so Matt gave me pointers on how he grills them indoors: on top of the stove on a cast iron griddle, or in the oven. It was a “duh” moment for me, as I roast so many vegetables this way, but somehow needed a lightbulb turned on in my brain to release me from the bondage of only pre-roasted Hatch peppers. Thank you Matt!
If you google how to roast chiles, you invariably will see these universal instructions: roast, remove the charred skin and then take the seeds and membranes out. Oh brother! I never skin anything, not tomatoes, peaches, potatoes… and I’m certainly not going to waste all that flavor. Besides, what a huge amount of extra work!
To roast chiles in the oven. Turn your broiler on, but in my case the heat comes from below, and so I turn it to 450 degrees. I have two roasting pans and after washing the peppers I lay them in a single layer in the pans and place in the hot oven.
The peppers in the bottom pan began to char first, so I turned them over, being careful not to squeeze out any juices from the softening peppers.
I switched the pans in the oven so the top pan could now be near the heat source. The other side is becoming charred and the peppers are soft. Don’t let them get too black (remember, no skinning) and try and not let the juices escape.
Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan, unless you have more batches to do, then transfer to a platter to cool while you keep roasting.
I had this conversation with a friend on processing peppers and she told me of a story where her dear mother in law severely burned her hands, for several painful days, because of handling and seeding lots of hot peppers. I definitely experience pain in the evening when removing my contacts, so I do try and touch hot peppers as little as possible.
When the peppers are cool, I pick them up by the stem and place them in a ziplock bag, which allows me to remove the end of the stem with ease, and I don’t have to touch the peppers with my hands. Matt told me that these peppers were typically hotter than Hatch Peppers, but I do not find that to be the case. The flavor is intensely rich, but not with fire that sets your mouth on fire. They are sublime to be sure and won’t scare off even a sissy.
Pack 5 or 6 peppers in a quart size freezer bag, suck out all the air, and freeze flat. Then you can stack them on end in a row to save freezer space and have them handy.
The salsa I made with Mark’s famous heirloom Thistle Whistle tomatoes and roasted Beaver Dam peppers is the best salsa any of us have ever tasted. Nothing like a little help with boosting endorphins, and since I don’t want my husband to cry when we run out of my freezer stash, I’m going to stock up on these beauties before they are gone.