Chile Verde

I have always loved salsa verde from taquerias, but I was intimidated by tomatillos. The green fruits with their papery husks looked like tomatoes, but not enough for me to feel comfortable attempting to cook with them.

Then they suddenly appeared in my CSA share a few years back.

{Recipe and more after the jump.}

Rather than panicking, I decided to attempt to make a version of salsa verde in the easiest way I could imagine. I dumped the de-husked tomatillos in a saucepan with a little water and simmered them until they burst. Then I chucked them in the blender, poured the sauce into a bowl and added chopped red onion, cilantro, and a little bit of hot sauce.

It was good!

Having broken through my tomatillo intimidation, I realized that there is very little you can do to a tomatillo that will make it taste bad.  So this year, when tomatillo time came, I decided to be a little more adventurous.

What follows is an adaptation of a Chile Verde recipe that I found on Simply Recipes. It was delicious and the leftover sauce was perfect for pouring over fried eggs and tortillas. — Anne Galvin

Chile Verde

Servings: 8 (makes great leftovers)

Ingredients (Sauce)

  • 1 1/2 pounds tomatillos
  • 5 garlic cloves, not peeled
  • 2 jalapenos, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 Anaheim or Poblano chiles (I actually used the sweet Italian peppers that we received with our shares and it gave the sauce a flowery tang that I liked)
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves

Preparation:

Remove tomatillo husks and rinse the fruit.

Cut in half and place cut side down, along with 5 unpeeled garlic cloves, on a foil-lined baking sheet.

Place under a broiler for about 5-7 minutes to lightly blacken the skin.

Remove from oven, let cool enough to handle.

(If you want to add additional pepper varieties, you can char them on a grill or stove top, remove the charred skin, and then seed them.)

Place tomatillos in a blender along with the peeled roasted garlic. Add peppers and cilantro to the blender and pulse until it becomes a finely blended (but not totally liquefied) sauce.

At this point the sauce tastes good on its own and can be used to dip chips.  However, to continue the recipe, you should set it aside while you prepare your protein.  The original recipe called for pork shoulder, which is what I used, but other proteins could easily be substituted.  This sauce would be great with chicken, beef and even fish, with the adjustment of cooking times taken into account.

Ingredients (Protein)

  • 3 1/2 to 4 pounds pork shoulder cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp of chopped fresh oregano or 1 Tbsp of dried oregano
  • Chicken or vegetable stock
  • Pinch of ground cloves (if preparing fish you might want to eliminate the cloves from the recipe)

Preparation:

Season the meat with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium high heat and brown the meat well on all sides.

Set the meat aside in a bowl. (Skip browning step if you are using fish and wait to add it until after the other combined ingredients have cooked down so that it does not end up over-cooked.)

Place onions and garlic in the same skillet, stirring them until they become soft.

Now add your pork, chicken, or beef to the pan.

Sprinkle with the oregano and add the tomatillo chile verde sauce.

Add enough chicken or vegetable stock to cover the ingredients in the pan.

Add ground cloves, and a little bit more salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. (If using fish, it should be added once the sauce has cooked down to a more concentrated form and the flavors have melded together).

Cook for 2-3 hours uncovered if you are using pork or stew meat, until the meat begins to fall apart. Chicken and fish will require significantly less time, so check to see if fish is cooked to your taste or if the chicken has begun separating from the bone.

Adjust the seasoning and serve with rice or corn tortillas.

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