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How To Prepare a Poblano Pepper

Poblano peppers are a Mexican native of the Capsicum annuum species, and are one of the milder peppers commonly used in Latin American recipes. The poblano itself is named after its city of origin - Puebla - the fourth largest city in Mexico. A fully ripe poblano pepper should be a glossy red color and possess a firm, smooth skin. Avoid poblanos that exhibit wrinkling, soft spots or bruises.

Unlike many other varieties of pepper, the poblano, is rarely used raw. Instead it is roasted or fried to bring out its true flavor. Roasted poblanos are used in mole sauces, roasted and cut into strips to make rajas con crema or stuffed and deep-fried to make chiles rellenos. Dried poblanos are also used to make ancho chili powder, a deep red seasoning with mild heat and a distinct peppery sweetness.


How To Prepare Poblano Pepper:

Step 1

Roast the poblano. This can be done by either impaling one end of the pepper on a long kitchen fork and exposing it directly to an open flame (if you have a gas stove), or by roasting it on a tray under a preheated broiler. Roasting them over an open flame is the traditional way to cook and char poblanos, though roasting them in a broiler is a significantly more convenient way to prepare multiple poblanos simultaneously.

Whichever roasting method you choose, make sure to turn the peppers over every few minutes to ensure even cooking. Depending on the size of the peppers you’re roasting, they’ll need from 6 to 10 minutes to fully cook. The flesh inside should become very soft, and while the skin should have large char marks, it should not be completely burnt.


Step 2

Remove the peppers from the heat and let them cool in order to peel the skin and remove the seeds. Once cool, peel the skin gently, starting at the charred sections where the skin is loose. Remember that the flesh will now be tender enough to tear easily, an important point to keep in mind if you’re trying to keep the poblano intact for chiles rellenos. To remove seeds from a whole roasted poblano, cut a 3 inch slit into one side of the poblano. Insert a small spoon, and gently scrape all of the seeds and membrane out of the interior without tearing the pepper.

Cutting the roasted poblano into strips for rajas con crema requires a lot less tenderness. Simply cut the top of the roasted pepper off to remove the stem. Slice it wide open so that it can be laid out flat and scrape out all of the interior, cutting the soft roasted shell into 1/2 inch thick strips.

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