Fri 28 Oct 2016
Read other related stories: Ember Cooking , Pepper , Vegetables
Ember Cooked Sweet Peppers
There’s nothing better than ember roasted sweet peppers in the outside fireplace or pit.
- An Outside fireplace or pit that is clean of ashes
- Cast iron skillet, if you prefer to cook in a container rather than directly on the embers
- Sweet peppers- medium to large size, any color though multi colored ones provide for a better presentation, 10-18 quantity
- SmokinLicious® Grande Sapore® wood chips– Ash wood or your favorite wood species
- Herbs – optional
- Drizzle of Extra Virgin olive oil
Building The Fire
My plan is to roast the peppers directly on the embers in my outdoor fireplace. So first, I need to clean out the fire box from any ash and debris. Then I select the hardwood for the actual cooking. I’m going to use Ash wood because it is one of the best hardwoods for producing evenly sized coals and heat level when it burns.
While I am using pieces of the SmokinLicious wood chunks, the Grande Sapore® ash chips will produce the same great results. In fact, use of the Ash Wood Chips will likely save some time as their pre-ground state would allow for quicker coal build up due to their faster burn rate. Remember, the need with ember cooking is to ensure that you have a 2-3” buildup of coals so the cooking process is uninterrupted.
The Ember Bed
I now have a bed of coals establish in the bottom of the fire box. Spread them out to provide a wider cooking area and facilitate an even heat level. I will be increasing the depth of the coal bed over the course of my cook by maintaining a perimeter of newly lite wood product. I would suggest using Grande Sapore® SmokinLicious Gourmet Wood chips for the additions as the bed can be built up much quicker and keep the cooking process moving forward.
Adding The Peppers
Once the Ash Wood develops into a great bed of coals you’ll understand why I love to use Ash Wood for ember cooking. The uniformity of the coal bed is so precise! Remember, Ash tree is part of the olive family of trees so it is known for its mild smoky flavor making it an ideal choice.
I begin adding my peppers to the embers with the stem and seeds intact. It is so much easier to rid the peppers of its seeds once fully cooked so don’t be concerned about them now. I seat each pepper well into the hot coals to ensure that the base is enveloped in that consistent heat level. As the pepper begin the charring process, you’ll see them wrinkle a bit as this is the sign of the dehydration that takes place in this water rich vegetable.
Ember Cooked Sweet Peppers Technique
Once the pepper are in place, I allow them to cook and char before touching them. Once I see some char marks develop, I gently rotate each pepper around the coal bed, sliding over some new coals to the cooking area with each rotation.
After about 20-25 minutes of ember roasting, the peppers will begin to tenderize. Remember there is a lot of moisture in sweet peppers so you may even hear them whistle a bit! Feel free to pierce them with a knife to release some water/steam. I like to do that step about ¾ of the way through the cooking process.
I want to remind you that this ember cooking technique requires a tempered hand but also some attention throughout the cooking process. You will need to rotate the peppers frequently to ensure even char. Remember, our heat generation is developing from the bed of embers and then radiating to the walls of our cooking area as well as the food. Once removed from the heat source, the peppers will have wilted a bit as they enter an immediate change in temperature and humidity.
The Finishing Touch
Once the peppers are completely charred and tenderized, remove them to a mesh or other tray to cool. Then you can use them in a variety of ways – cut into strips and drizzled with a lite coating of extra virgin olive oil, a hint of salt, fresh pepper and fresh mint. Or, use these beauties whole as a container for a ground turkey, beef, or lamb stuffing that includes fresh ricotta cheese, parsley, a hint of chili pepper flakes, and a topping of fresh mozzarella. The recipe options for Ember Cooked Sweet Peppers are endless so start experimenting or look to your favorite cookbook for inspiration!
Bon Bar B Que