We roast a lot of chiles in this kitchen: it just seems like the right thing to do. A perfectly roasted chile can add depth of flavor to just about any dish, with the bonus being the intense, earthy aroma that will permeate the air and get your salivary glands going in all the right ways.
Hundreds of chiles later I’ve found that there are two key elements to successful roasting. The first is the char factor.
Newbie chile roasters are most often afraid of the over-scorch and, as a result, they shy away from thoroughly and evenly charring the outside of the chile pepper.
The truth is that the more blackened a chile’s skin is, the easier it will be to peel and prepare. You’re aiming for a solidly charred chile from stem to stern, so gird your loins and fear not the char.
The second key step in roasting a chile is the skin-loosening phase: a charred chile must be allowed to sweat for long enough that the scorched skin softens and becomes loose enough to almost slip off of the chile.
I personally accomplish this by carefully placing my charred chiles in a Ziploc bag, which I then seal tightly, opening only to insert additional chiles for sweating.
Again, it’s necessary to wait long enough that the skins become truly loose – your chiles won’t look like much more than soggy, sweaty messes by the time they’re ready. But appearances aren’t everything, right?