Thursday, 17 December 2009

Recipe: roasted poblano peppers

I love the smell of peppers roasting although it does have a tendency to linger about the flat! While the whole process may appear time consuming and fiddly, it is well worth the trouble. The peppers will keep for a few days in the fridge and not only provide the basis for many great Mexican dishes but they also go well with pasta and alongside grilled meat and fish.

I have great difficulty in finding fresh poblano peppers (i.e. they should be green) in London but you can find something similar at one of the many farmers' markets or street markets around town. A whole bag of these peppers (about 6 good-sized) cost me a mere £1 on Portobello Road. They're also the perfect size for stuffing.

Poblanos rajas (sliced chillies)
4 poblano peppers
1/2 red onion
1 tbsp oil

Blacken the peppers but either roasting them directly over a gas hob or under a hot grill. They will take about 10-15 mins under the grill; turn them mid way so that they are evenly roasted.

Place the peppers in a dish, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to cool. Once cold, the skins should peel off very easily; don't be tempted to rinse any last bits from the flesh as this will wash away that lovely smoky flavour. Slice the peppers into 1 cm strips.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and gently fry the onion for 5 mins. Add the peppers and season - I usually add some oregano, salt and pepper - and cook for another two minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Pureed, this makes a great smoky sauce that is fantastic with pasta. Stir in a little cream for a more decadent dish. Otherwise, use the peppers as an extra filling for tacos, enchiladas or simply as a condiment alongside some steak or grilled fish. They make a wonderful vegetarian dish layered with rice and cheese and baked in the oven until hot and bubbling.

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