Isn’t fire roasting the most wonderful thing in the world?
Doesn’t it take everything up a notch?
Like, normal eggplants are good. They taste absolutely fine. But roasted eggplants. Well they are just great! *yes, Baingan ka bharta, I am talking about you!*
And while I know V isn’t gung-ho over bell peppers. Roast them and serve them as a sauce or in hummus, he is always begging for more!
Roasting red peppers not only intensifies their flavor and sweetness but also imparts them with a touch of smokiness.
Of course you could use canned roasted red peppers. But, when roasting red peppers at home can be so easy, why not give it a try once?
There are several ways of roasting peppers at home but I found the easiest way is to broil them in the oven, turning them over till they are evenly charred. You can easily use this method to roast other peppers like poblanos or even jalapeños, and it takes only ten minutes to get them charred in the broiler.
Whether it’s under the broiler or on the grill or on a stove top flame, blacken them for about ten minutes. What you really need to do is to char the heck out of the red peppers.
Once charred, remove them and set them on a plate or bowl for a few minutes, covering with cling film to let them sweat making it easier to remove the skin. You could also throw the peppers into a large Ziploc bag to loosen the skin.
After a few minutes, remove the skin and deseed. I find using a paper napkin to peel the skin off a great way to keep my unmanicured nails clean off the blackened skin and keeping my nails as pretty as unmanicured nails can look pretty! (I know, I do like to take care of my unmanicured nails!)
Roasted red peppers keep really well in the freezer. Freeze them individually in zip-lock bags so that you can quickly grab them as needed throughout the rest of the year. Once roasted, you can use them to make great appetizers, dips, spreads and pasta sauces.
I used the roasted red peppers to make this sauce that I saw on the Rachel Ray show. The way Rachel described it, I was sure that it would be great, and well, it sure was.
I made it for lunch the first time and V could not praise it enough. Its very rarely that V truly enjoys a non-Indian dish. I mean he is an Indian at heart and even though he experiments with other cuisines (thanks to me), he relishes Indian food the most. But, this dish – well, this dish was special to him. Maybe because of the spices, it had an Indian touch to it, which V’s taste buds could relate to easily. And, thus I have been able to repeat the dish on our weekly menu. Of course, it helps that its very easy to make too.
I have made this dish using heavy cream, fat free half and half and greek yogurt, all with equally good results. So feel free to sub the sour cream or heavy cream with a healthier alternative!
Also, if you are making this dish for two, you can reduce the amount of chicken breast called for, and use the extra sauce next day to make a non meat pasta dish. You get two different meals out of one and your partner (or even you) will love you more for each!
Tip: While picking out peppers, look for fleshy medium to large sized ones that have smooth, firm, and unblemished skin. The fleshier peppers are more flavorful and they are great for broiling.
This dish is packed with a million delicious flavors: the sweetness of the peppers, the kick of garlic, a herbed creaminess with a generous hint of spice, all elevated by the smokiness of the roasted peppers. I am sure you will love it as much as we did! Make it now!
Recipe adapted from here
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 hot cherry or Fresno chili peppers (I used 2 thai green chillies)
- 1 small onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled ( about 1 tbsp)
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves ( I used 1 tsp dried)
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 tablespoons butter, divided ( I used butter and olive oil spread)
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup sour cream or heavy cream or half n half or greek yogurt
- 3 tablespoons sweet paprika (I added some piri piri powder as well)
- 2 tablespoons EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 6 pieces boneless skinless chicken breast or 12 pieces boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 pound Gouda, shredded (I actually used jalapeno Havarti, since that’s what I had in my refrigerator)
- Roast peppers under broiler till evenly charred with oven door slightly ajar to let the steam escape. You could also roast them on the grill or on stove top flame. But from personal experience the broiler is my favorite method.
- Place charred peppers in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. The steam helps the skin loosen. Let it cool to handle and then peel and deseed. Using paper towel to remove the skin helps in keeping the hands and nail clean while removing the charred skin.
- Place the peppers in a food processor with onion, parsley, garlic, thyme and chicken stock. Purée until smooth.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepot over medium heat.
- Whisk in flour, cook 1 minute then whisk in milk and season with salt and pepper. Stir in sour or heavy cream/fat free half n half or if you want use greek yogurt and thicken the sauce.
- Combine with paprika and pepper purée.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Season chicken with salt and pepper, and brown on both sides.
- Transfer to a shallow baking casserole, top with sauce and cheese, and bake 20-25 minutes to finish cooking chicken through and brown the top.
- Serve with egg noodles or quinoa or even couscous!