Happy New Year! This was one of those OMIGOSH recipes I came across when I decided to make my chicken enchiladas for my cousin that was in town visiting the other day. I happened to have a poblano pepper in the fridge, and wasn’t sure how spicy my cuz could take his food, so scaled down the serrano peppers and added a poblano. Boy howdy, was this tomatillo sauce so good over the enchiladas. The original recipe/method for the sauce came from Rick Bayless. I’ve made my own tomatillo sauce for years ever since my seester in Austin introduced me to cooking those green little gems, but I always boiled them in water or chicken broth. Roasting the peppers bring out an entire new flavor sensation, and then the additional step to “fry” the sauce in a cast iron skillet just put this over the top.
My camera’s battery went dead just as I was about to take a photo of the simmering sauce, dang it! It was so beautiful just bub-bub-bubbling away in the cast iron skillet. But my cousin was expected within the hour and had to get everything assembled and cooked, so you get a before and after shot of the tomatillo sauce. I made my usual chicken enchiladas for this, recipe here. I made and assembled the enchiladas before making the sauce, otherwise I’d be running around the kitchen like mad trying to do everything at once. You can also just make this sauce and chow down on it with tortilla chips as an appetizer. If you don’t have any New Year’s Resolutions for 2013, then add “Make that crazy-good roasted tomatillo sauce” to your list. Trust me.
Roasted Tomatillo, Serrano, and Poblano Sauce
(adapted from Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen)
1 pound tomatillos (about 10 to 12)
1 serrano chile
1 poblano chile
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 cups chicken broth, homemade from the chicken for the enchilada
1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
Peel the husks from the tomatillos and scrub the sticky stuff off with a potato scrubber under running water. On a large baking sheet, add the tomatillos and peppers and broil in the oven for about 20 minutes until the skins are blistered and the tomatillos have turned soft. Flip them over about halfway through. Remove from oven, and place the poblano in a paper bag and let sit for about 10-15 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the stem off the serrano pepper, slit it open and remove the seeds. Using tongs, add the tomatillos and serrano to a large blender or food processor. Cut and squeeze the juice from the lime into the blender. Now remove the poblano from the bag, chop off the stem, de-seed, and peel the skin off of it. Add it to the blender and pulse a few times until everything is chunky. Next, heat a large cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, add the tablespoon of oil, and cook the chopped onions until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic to the skillet in the last few minutes of cooking. Now add the cooked onion and garlic to the tomatillo/pepper mixture, and blend until almost smooth. Add a little bit more oil back to the heated skillet turned down to medium heat, then pour the tomatillo sauce into the skillet. “Fry” the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring often until it starts to thicken and darken. Next, slowly add the chicken broth, stirring occasionally, and cook for at least 10 or 15 more minutes until the sauce has thickened again and starts to bubble up like the hot mud springs at Yellowstone. Really! Last, add the chopped cilantro and stir to combine. Now your wonderfully yummy roasted sauce awaits your enchiladas or chips. Or heck, just eat some right out of the skillet with a spoon. I did.