Poblano chillies are used widely in Mexican cookery but they're difficult to track down in UK shops, even when they are in season. They are mildly hot and add a distinctive flavour to recipes.
When you can find them it's a good idea to buy in bulk and preserve them for use throughout the year. This article tells you how.
My friends at chilli farm Edible Ornamentals grow Poblanos for supply to Mexican restaurants and they also provide a Pick Your Own service at their nursery in Chawston, Beds.
Last weekend I bought a kilo of Poblano chillies from them and set about preserving them.
I split the batch in half - the first half for charring and freezing and the second for drying into Ancho chillies .
In Mexican cooking, chillies and other vegetables are often charred. Charring imparts an extra, smoky, flavour to the food and it also loosens the skins of the chillies, making them easy to remove before using them in recipes.
The method is very simple:
- Preheat your grill to high.
- Arrange Poblano chillies on a dry baking tray (not oiled)
- Put the tray under the grill so that the chillies are very close to the heating element / flame.
- As they heat up the skins will blister and blacken. Turn the Poblanos throughout the process so that they blacken all over (see photo below).
- Remove the baking tray from the grill and cover with kitchen foil - this allows the Poblanos to steam in their own heat, further loosening the skin.
- Once the Poblanos have cooled you have can put them into freezer bags, label them and pop them in the freezer. I usually bag them in pairs so that I can easily grab a portion for use without having to defrost the whole lot.
- When you're ready to use the Poblanos remove them from the freezer to defrost and peel away the charred skin.
WARNING: You can use this method for other peppers and chillies but the hotter varieties can release acrid smoke that is very unpleasant. For this reason, it's much better to char the hotter varieties outdoors on a barbecue.