Serious Heat: Roasting Chiles the Alton Brown Way

Editor's note: On Thursdays, Andrea Lynn, associate editor of Chile Pepper magazine, drops by to drop some Serious Heat.

At Chile Pepper, we have a lot of uses for roasted chiles, whether it's the mild-mannered heat of chopped, roasted poblanos tossed into a pasta sauce or the smolder of roasted jalapeños in a spicy, smoked salsa. How silly of us to think that the only ways to roast chiles at home were either straight on the gas burner, underneath the broiler, or on the grill.

Enter Alton Brown. I recently discovered a fairly ancient episode of Good Eats where Brown took an insert steamer and magically turned it into a chile roaster on top of the stovetop. Ingenious! I will forever be hooked to this chile-roasting method now.

Here are step-by-step directions:

1. Place the metal steamer insert on top of one burner on your stove's gas burner. Fill the steamer insert with chiles but do not overload. Make sure to trim off the stems of the chiles or you could have a mini fire on your hands. (Ahem. Speaking from experience.)

2. Turn on the gas burner and stand back. Open windows, turn on fans, etc., in your home. Cook the chiles until blackened, turning 1/3 of the way each time for 5 to 7 minutes on each side. The beauty about the entire concept is that the metal heats up from the fire and turns into an actual chile roaster, blistering the chiles quite fiercely. (Note: the metal of the steamer will be permanently slightly darkened.)

3. When the chiles are roasted, turn off the burner and (using tongs for safety), place a metal bowl on top the blackened chiles and let steam for 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Remove bowl from chiles. Take them out of the steamer insert and onto a cutting board. Using your fingers, gently remove the blackened skin of the chiles. If you plan on stuffing the chiles, cut a small insert and remove seeds. For mincing or other options, just cut a line down the middle and remove seeds.

5. Voila. You have a roasted chile pepper! Stuff it, mince it, purée it, you name it. For an easy stuffed chile relleno, check out the recipe below. Personally, I like to stuff poblanos with leftovers lurking in the fridge, like shrimp and grits. The options are endless.

Serious Heat: Roasting Chiles the Alton Brown Way

About This Recipe

Yield:6 servings


  • 6 poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded and roasted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. 1

    In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the onion, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the ground meat, breaking it up with the back of a fork, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until completely browned. Stir in the rice, cumin, chili and ancho powders, and tomato paste. Reduce heat to medium, cook for 5 minutes longer, and season with salt and pepper.

  2. 2

    Stuff each poblano with a generous serving of the meat mixture. Reduce heat to very low, and place the stuffed poblanos, side by side, into the sauté pan, cover, and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Serve.


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