Salsa verde is one of those magical things that is tangy, sour, smoky, and salty, and is so useful! Unlike most red salsas, green salsa is excellent both as a condiment with chips, but also can double as the base for an outstanding sauce for Mexican cuisine. And while I think a lot of people believe making salsa is difficult to do, it really couldn’t be easier. All you need are the basic ingredients (which are readily available in most grocery stores), a broiler, and a food processor or blender.
The trick to getting great tasting salsa verde is to char the vegetables. The char really adds a great depth of flavor and lends a light smokiness to the salsa. Don’t be afraid to see black patches covering the various ingredients. The recipe for the salsa is below…note that you can use the same technique for red salsa, just substitute red tomatoes for the tomatillos. In addition, I’ve also included instructions at the bottom for how to turn this salsa into a sauce for chicken enchiladas verdes as well. Make them both — salsa verde and enchiladas are a fabulous combination!
8 medium-sized tomatillos, husked and wiped clean
4 cloves garlic, whole and peeled
1 white onion, peeled, trimmed of the root end, and quartered
3 jalapeno or serrano chile peppers (or a mix)
1/2 bunch of cilantro leaves
juice of 1/2 of a lime
1+ tsp salt (or to taste)
1 tsp ground cumin
On a large baking sheet, place the tomatillos, garlic cloves, onion quarters and chile peppers in a single layer. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of oil, and make sure the vegetables are nicely coated. Place under the broiler of your oven (about 2″ from the element) until the tops of the vegetables are nicely charred but not totally burnt (black spots should appear on the chiles and tomatillos). Watch that the garlic doesn’t burn since that will add bitterness to the salsa, turning and removing it before the other vegetables if needed. Flip the vegetables over and do the same on the other side. It should take about 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside to cool slightly.
Prepare the other ingredients (cilantro, lime juice, salt and cumin) and place in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Add the charred vegetables and garlic to the processor as well. Pulse a few times, then purée for several seconds until nicely blended, and no large chunks remain. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice to taste and serve! [Note: salsa will keep nicely in the fridge in a closed container for several days.]
Chicken Enchiladas with Salsa Verde:
1 medium white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 cup flour
2 cups chicken stock
1 roast chicken (you can use one from your grocery store already roasted), meat torn into bite-sized chunks)
1/2 bunch cilantro, leaves finely chopped
10 flour tortillas
6 ounces monterey jack cheese, shredded
6 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add half of the chopped onions (reserve the rest for assembling the enchiladas), and cook until lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic, and continue to cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the cumin and flour, and mix well. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly so that the flour does not burn, then gradually add the chicken stock, again stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Once all chicken stock is added, continue to stir and cook until thickened. Add half of the salsa verde from the recipe above (reserve the rest for assembling the enchiladas), as well as the chicken meat and the cilantro. Taste and add salt if needed.
In a large baking pan (9×13 or larger), coat the bottom with a bit of the reserved salsa (just enough to smear the bottom completely). Lay a tortilla on a flat work surface, and using a spoon, coat both sides lightly with the salsa. Place about 1/4 cup of chicken filling in the middle, sprinkle with some of the cheeses, some of the onion, and then roll tightly. Place seam side down in the prepared baking dish, and repeat for all 10 tortillas, using all of the chicken filling if possible (I find it easiest to do 8 enchiladas across, then 2 across the bottom, lengthwise). Top the enchiladas with any remaining chicken filling, and remaining salsa verde (you should have at least 1/2 cup left), making sure all corners are moistened. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese and onions. Bake for 30-40 minutes until hot and bubbly.
To serve, using two spatulas, place 1-2 enchiladas on each plate and garnish with sour cream and hot sauce, if desired.
This was great! Thank you for creating this video. I’m new to cooking and just trying out the recipes that look simple. Broiling was a lot of fun as the vegetable rocked and popped! I’ve now learned that “tossing in oil” means that you don’t leave the rest of the oil in the pan:)
I think I might need to choose tomatillos that are more equivalent in size (one cooked so quickly that it spilled its guts and I couldn’t harvest it back from the pan:) but it was my first time purchasing them and couldn’t tell their size inside the husks as some were loose and some tight. 1. Is it rude to husk them at the store? 2. Do they become less salable without husks?
I’m glad you specified to add even the charred bits: at first I had left out the outer onion layers because they were so charred. I didn’t have any chilis so I just waited until the food processor step and added some chopped, canned jalapenos instead.
It came out tangy and delicious! Can’t wait to try the rest of the recipe!
Good for you, Michelle! I’m impressed you went out and bought tomatillos for the first time. Awesome. Not sure about the salability of them without husks, but I usually just cup them in my hand in the husk and squeeze lightly to gauge size. You could also partially open the husk to see inside without completely removing the husk. So glad you gave it a try, and enjoyed the salsa!
Whitney! Omg this looks awesome. I should license this recipe for the updated version of my Rock Star Recipes book!! Adding a dash of my signature Anand Bhatt hot sauce line of course ;). BTW, perhaps inappropriate to mention here – but saw you guys posted a Lot of box positions for marketing & pr folk. Let me know if you’d rather hire my local team (prob for the price of just one employee) to handle all of that stuff for you full time. Feel free to email me about it!! And at the very least let me know your fav flavor so I can send you some hot sauce to try in these vids!!