Salsa Verde

I promised one of my good friends that I would post my recipe for salsa verde.  She needs it for an enchilada recipe, but this can be used as dipping salsa, on anything Mexican (tacos, enchiladas, tamales, etc.), or in anything you’d like a little tang and heat in!  Growing up in Texas, I grew up with a TON of variations of salsa verde, and finally came up with my own that fits exactly what I like in a salsa verde.

First, a tidbit on tomatillos.  Tomatillos look and act much like a red tomato, in that they cook down the same way a tomato would, and are delicious sliced up with a little salt.  They’re also fantastic fried like green tomatoes, added into soups, or chopped up into a salad.  They are some of the prettiest vegetables you can grow in your garden because of the gorgeous lanterns they grow in.

Once you pick them, you need to remove the paper lanterns by peeling back the leaves and twisting the top.  Then, you have to make sure to wash them because they’ll be fairly sticky, and while it won’t hurt you if you eat the stickiness, it’s just gross-feeling on your tongue.

See? They look like green tomatoes!

And now, for the…

Recipe – Makes approximately 8 cups

2 1/2 pounds tomatillos

2 large onions

4 jalapeños

6 cloves garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

4 t salt

1 c loosely packed cilantro

Lime juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 450°
  2. Peel the tomatillos and wash until they aren’t sticky anymore.
  3. Peel and chop the onions into quarters, and 1/3 of the tomatillos into halves.
  4. Place the onion, tomatillos, jalapeños, and garlic onto a cookie sheet.
  5. Bake until the halved tomatillos are soft (about 10 minutes).  Remove those from the oven, and put the rest back in until the outsides of the tomatillos and jalapeños are a little blistered (about 10 more minutes).
  6. Meanwhile, pull the cilantro leaves off the stems so you’re just getting the really good cilantro flavor, instead of the stems that don’t have as much flavor.
  7. Throw the tomatillos into a food processor until mostly smooth (I like them a little chunky, but process until it’s the consistency you like).
  8. Put the pulverized tomatillos into a medium bowl.
  9. Put the onion, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and salt into the food processor until as smooth as possible.
  10. Add the onion/cilantro/cumin/garlic/salt mixture to the tomatillos in the bowl and mix until it’s completely incorporated.
  11. Now, take one jalapeño at a time, put it in the food processor with a couple of scoops of the salsa verde (to give it that liquid it needs to really grind up the jalapeño) and process until smooth.
  12. Add it back into the salsa verde and taste.  If you’d like it hotter, repeat step 10 with each of the jalapeños, one at a time, until it reaches the heat you prefer.
  13. That’s it!  You’ve got your salsa verde!

Tips

  • If you like it a little tangier (although the tomatillos are super tangy to begin with), you can add in some lime juice.
  • I like to leave the seeds in my jalapeños when I process them because I like lots of heat, but if you’re more of a mild heat person, I would take them out.  Another option is to use a serrano in place of a jalapeño for even more heat.  I like this when I’m using it purely for dipping salsa, but for use in other dishes, I prefer it to be milder so that it’s more versatile.
  • Salsa verde freezes amazingly well, so freeze half of this batch (or more) and save for use in dishes later!

Ideas for Salsa Verde

Eventually, I’ll get around to using the batch I made last night in a whole bunch of different things, and will share those recipes as well.  Until then, here’s a list of ideas for dishes you can use it in.

  • Much lighter (read: healthier) guacamole: Take 2 cups of salsa verde and one avocado.  Puree in a food processor until smooth.
  • White chicken enchiladas
  • Chicken and white bean soup
  • Dipping salsa (duh)
  • On tacos
  • In chicken chili (something I typically am totally against, because chili isn’t chili without red meat, but I’ll allow this exception)
  • Marinade for poultry
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