Sure, you can buy them in a jar, but roasting peppers is fun and easy - there's fire involved! Roasting peppers serves several purposes, namely it brings out the rich sweetness which comes naturally in a pepper, but is hard to create from sauteing. It makes the pepper smoky, it also entails peeling the pepper, ensuring it has a more pleasant mouth feel, and it removes any bitterness. Besides, did I mention there was fire? There are many things you can do with a roasted pepper - slice it and toss it into any pasta, as I did a few days ago, you can make bruschetta with it, put it in a salad, or puree it and mix it with mayo to make a tasty sandwich spread. Don't limit yourself to regular bell peppers, chiles, such as the poblano I roasted here (pictured above), are also greant, and smashing when mixed with corn for a side dish. I have roasted this pepper right on my gas stovetop, but it can also be done in the coals of a grill (put it directly on the coals, keeping a close eye on it). If you are limited to electric, you can put it under the broiler.
*There is, of course, a small risk of fire with roasting peppers, so have an extinguisher nearby. Typically, the pepper is too moist to catch on fire, but it's best to be prepared. Do not wear loose sleeves when doing this. Didn't you see the Sopranos episode where Tony's goomara tries to cook eggs in her robe? You are standing over an open flame, have some sense!
Step One - Place the pepper directly on the burner of a gas stove and char the entire pepper, one side at a time. The time will of course vary depending on the type of stove you have - I find it usually takes about 4 minutes per side. It's enough time that I can have the peppers charring away while I am busy chopping onions or whatever next to the stove. Turn the pepper carefully with tongs, being careful not to burn yourself or otherwise catch anything on fire:
Place the peppers in a double-bagged paper bag, or in a plastic bag. Set this aside while you get on with making dinner. You want the pepper to steam in there for at least 5 minutes, but you don't have to time it. I just get to them when I have a free minute:
Rub the peppers in the paper bag to get the skin started coming off, and remove from the bag onto a cutting board. Be careful!! This pepper will be very hot! You might notice it has deflated quite a bit since putting it in the bag. Using a paper towel, wipe away the remaining charred skin, getting as many black bits off as possible; it's not necessary to get every bit off, I actually like a little remaining, although Husband will tell you char isn't a flavor:
Cut the flesh away from the seed core, discarding any seeds. Slice, chop, puree or do whatever you like with the pepper. Yum: