Monday, May 5, 2014

Make It From Scratch: Roasted Peppers


Who hasn't bought a jar of roasted peppers before, to put in a new recipe you were trying out, or to just slap on a burger or a sandwich.  Maybe you were going to make some roasted pepper and tomato soup, or a summery salad.  Have you ever made a hummus with some roasted peppers thrown in?  So good!

Making your own roasted peppers has several benefits, one being cost.  If you can get those peppers cheaply, it is much cheaper to make your own.  Here in Seattle, I only buy fresh peppers when they are about 1.25 or 2.00 per pepper.  Then I buy the heaviest ones I can find to give me the most pepper for my money.  Maybe where you live that is expensive for a pepper and you are lucky because now you have no excuse not to make your own roasted peppers.

Another benefit of making your own is that you know what the ingredients are.  Just peppers!  Some jarred peppers may contain oils you don't want to consume. In our case, you never know where soybean oil may be lurking (Big Sis has a soy sensitivity).

Also, they just taste amazing roasted fresh!

Not really a recipe here, but a method to follow.  Roast as many or as few as you like at once.  I always figure I may as well do a bunch and then I can have roasted pepper on everything that week.  Yum!

So here are two ways to roast a pepper.  First, on a gas stove, and second, under your broiler.

To roast your peppers on a gas stove, turn the heat to medium and place your washed peppers directly on the burners.  We are pretty much just charring the skin all over the pepper, and as it is being charred, it is lightly cooking the pepper itself.

Place your peppers directly on the stove

mmm, char.....

The time it takes for each side to char will vary, so check your blackening peppers every 5 minutes or so to see how they are doing.  You can see below that I am using long tongs to turn and flip my peppers to get the skin evenly blackened.  Mine took about 25 minutes to char all over.

turn that pepper
looking nice and charred

Once your peppers are pretty well blackened all over, place them into a large bowl.  They do not need to be completely black, but about 90% is great.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid, and let them cool enough to handle.  I usually give them 30 minutes or longer, due to having small demanding children keeping me from getting back to the kitchen...

wrap the bowl tightly in plastic

After your peppers have cooled they are ready to peel and seed.  The reason we cover them in a bowl is to use the steam from the hot peppers to loosen the skin so it comes right off.

let's skin it!
 First use a small paring knife to cut around the stem, then pull it out.  Cut the pepper into 3 or 4 pieces, and scrape out the seeds.  I had to put a paper towel down to absorb all the liquid that had been inside the pepper.

pop the top

pepper time!

Now you can lay the pieces out and just rub the skin right off!  It should come off very easily.  If it doesn't, you didn't blacken your pepper enough.

the skin comes right off!
pile of roasted peppers!
And it is as easy as that!  I also tried another method to roast peppers, for our readers who do not have a gas range.

To roast peppers under the broiler, you stem and seed them first, lay them out on a tray, and place them under your preheated broiler.

broil it
It is important to check your peppers frequently, because broilers are very hot and cook food quickly.  My peppers were nice and charred after about 12 minutes.  If you have an electric broiler, it will probably take longer.

nice and charred
As with peppers roasted over an open flame, place your broiled peppers in a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.  Leave them to cool, about 20-30 minutes.


Now all you have to do is pull the charred skin off and you have roasted peppers!

the skin comes right off!

a freshly peeled pepper


jar of summery yum!

After trying out both methods I was surprised to find that I preferred broiling my peppers.  It was less messy to peel them, and actually took half the cooking time.  Kind of a no-brainer, if you will.  But it is still fun to burn food on purpose!

If you aren't sure what to do with your freshly roasted peppers, here are some ideas:

burger or sandwich topping
make soup or hummus with them
slice up to go with an antipasto platter for a party
slice up for a pizza topping
chop up to put into a salad
great as a crostini topping with a cheese and prosciutto

There are endless ways to use these peppers, and I'm sure you will love them. 

I still have many ideas for this series, but if you have an idea or a request please let me know and I will see if I can make it happen.  Anything that you currently buy that you want to see if you can make from scratch with healthier and cheaper results is what we are looking for.

So what recipe do you want me to do next?  Popsicles, ranch dressing, or your own spice blends?  Let me know in the comments!