Salsa verde (translation: green sauce), also known as chile verde, can be eaten as a dip or condiment with tortilla chips & tacos, used as enchilada sauce, or added for a flavorful boost to carnitas or soups & chili. Green enchiladas are one of King-Man's favorite meals, so I make this sauce in big quantities and can it to have ready throughout the year. It freezes well, too. You can also make a batch of this salsa and eat it fresh. It will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This recipe is vegan and gluten-free.
I started growing our own tomatillos and chiles last year--I call it our "salsa garden"--so that we can enjoy homegrown, homemade salsa verde. If you're not a gardener, look for the ingredients at farmers markets and in your grocery store.
GOOD FOR YOU INGREDIENTS! This salsa is loaded with nutrients. It's high in fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium, niacin, potassium, and vitamins B6 & C. Here's the breakdown:
TOMATILLOS. In case you're unfamiliar with this fruit, below are photos of some from my garden. They look similar to green tomatoes and are covered with a papery husk. Turns out that tomatillos like St. Louis weather. Just two plants produced enough for a year's worth of salsa verde. You can read more about this staple of Mexican cooking here.
Freeze whole tomatillos. If you have a bounty of these green guys in your garden or want to stock up while they're plentiful in markets, they are easy to freeze. Simply remove the husks, wash and dry them, put them in ziploc freezer bags, and freeze them for up to 6 months. We had such a late freeze last year that I had a 2nd crop to harvest in early November. I bagged and froze them and was able to use them for a batch of salsa verde the following March.
GREEN CHILE PEPPERS. Being from New Mexico, I love my chiles and grow a variety in my garden. For chile verde I use a combination of Anaheims and jalapenos. These are both widely available in our grocery stores. You can substitute other large green chile peppers for the Anaheims, like poblano or New Mexico chiles. They all carry different amounts of heat, so you can customize your salsa depending on your heat tolerance. I personally think the Anaheims are pretty mild, but I admittedly have a high tolerance for spice and heat. Poblanos are mild but have a good flavor, if you prefer something less spicy. The jalapeno seeds can be left in (for more heat) or removed, again depending on how spicy you want it. Not only can the heat vary widely between different chiles, even two of the same variety can have vastly different levels of heat. I taste and make adjustments with every new batch I make.
Here's how I make salsa verde. It's really easy once you gather the supplies.
Step-by-step photos for making
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: tomatillos, green chile peppers, jalapenos, onions, cilantro, bottled lime juice (you can use fresh if you won't be canning the salsa), cider vinegar, black pepper, white pepper, kosher salt, oregano (Mexican preferred, if available), ground cumin.
Step 2. Roast the veggies--this adds so much flavor to the salsa. I've used two methods that both work well, so use whatever method suits you.
Step 3. Peel the peppers. While the roasted peppers are still hot, place them in a covered bowl or folded paper bag for 10 minutes to allow them to steam and make the peel easier to remove. Jalapenos have a very thin skin that doesn't need to be peeled, but most other chile peppers should be peeled, stemmed, and seeded. Wear plastic gloves while handling the peppers. Read my previous post, How to Roast and Peel Peppers, for more detailed tips and instructions for grilling them outside.
NOTE: The tomatillos do not need to be skinned. In fact their softened, charred skin adds important flavor to the salsa.
Step 4. Add all of the ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree them. The salsa is ready to eat fresh, store in the fridge, or freeze. If you want to can the salsa, read on for canning instructions.
TO FREEZE, transfer salsa to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 6 months. Allow at least 1/2" headspace for expansion when frozen.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR WATER PROCESS CANNING: Add pureed salsa to large pan on stove top, bring to a boil, and lower to a simmer; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add hot salsa to hot sterilized pint or half-pint jars leaving 1/4" of headspace, and gently boil in water canner 15 minutes. Turn off heat, and leave jars in hot water for 5 minutes. Remove and let rest undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Salsa is best if jars are stored for 1 month before eating to allow the flavors to blend and the vinegar to mellow.
About canning safety: Always follow jar preparation and processing recommended by the USDA. If you want more detailed canning information, I recommend the Ball website. They are the ultimate authority, and their site is loaded with detailed information and recipes suited for canning. You can safely adjust the seasonings in this salsa recipe, but do not change the ratio of other ingredients. They must be balanced correctly to have a pH level that is safe for bacteria-free canning.
For general canning tips, see my previous post,
Step-By-Step Canning Tips
I triple the recipe for canning purposes to yield 7-8 pints of salsa verde.
It's so convenient to have this flavorful salsa on hand for quick Mexican meals. It's our favorite enchilada sauce and also makes a fun, unique hostess gift.
Salsa verde has a distinctive tart & spicy combination of flavors. Roasting the veggies makes it even better, adding little charred bits that you can both see and taste.
Make it a Yummy day!
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