|Until this year!|
My girls can make authentic Mexican food; our whole family loves Mexican food; the "real kind". (The "kind" that we waited in line for, several hours before service, in front of Rick Bayless' Frontera Grill in Chicago hours before it opened so that we wouldn't have to wait in an even longer line with everyone else... twice on the same family vacation). We got a really good table. That's what being first in line does for you.
We live in the southwestern area of the U.S. so we always have had great Mexican restaurants here. And we love green tomatillo sauce. I've tried several recipes (including Rick Bayless') but this is my original recipe; and it was my best one ever. Really!!! It must be those soft, sweet, ripe, garden tomatillos I used this time. I usually buy them and I'm convinced that they pick them green like super market tomatoes (no flavor and rock hard). Next spring, I will put more effort into my tomatillo plant, in fact I think I'll plant two!
This recipe is not exact. I wish it could be but it depends on the flavor and sweetness of your fruit and the heat of your peppers. Even the same chili variety can vary in "hotness", so be careful. If you are sensitive to them, put some gloves or a plastic sandwich baggie over your hands as you handle them. And whatever you do, don't rub your eyes after handling the peppers.
- Husk and wash your tomatillos well. They have a sticky, yet surprisingly waxy, feel to their skin. You won't get the "sticky" all off. Put them on a baking sheet with sides. I filled my half sheet pan (15" x 20") almost full.
- Add some Jalapeno or Serrano peppers that you have stemmed. I used 6 Serrano's, because that's what I had in my garden.
- Put the pan about 4 inches away from the broiler element and broil for about 5 minutes. Be sure to turn on a fan. Turn them and broil 5 minutes more or until they are soft, blistered and browned (they will be burned in spots). This caramelizes the natural sugars and gives them a smoky flavor. Remove them from the oven and cool slightly.
- Put the tomatillos, the pan juices, and the peppers (I removed some of the seeds and ribs from my Serrano's) into a blender. Be judicious with the amount of peppers that you initially add. You may want to add half and then add more later if you want more heat. They vary on the Scoville scale from pepper to pepper, even within the same variety. Pulse them a few times to blend.
- Mince about 3/4 cup of a white or yellow onion, put it in a strainer and rinse with water and drain. This will take some of the acid and bitterness from the onion. Add about 2/3 of the minced onion to the blender (reserving the rest to add at the end for texture).
- Coarsely chop a large handful of cilantro; again, put as much as you like in the blender, reserving some minced cilantro for finishing at the end. I find that people either love cilantro or hate it. I love it, but I've heard some people say it tastes like soap. Pulse once or twice to blend the onions and cilantro. If your sauce is not the right consistency you might thin it with some water.....
- OR do as I do and use a bit of chicken broth. My tomatillos were very juicy and I didn't need to thin my sauce but I wanted the depth that chicken broth brings to the party so I added 2 teaspoons of chicken base. You could add some bouillon granules but be careful; they are mostly salt.
- Adjust the seasonings to taste by adding salt and freshly ground pepper at the end. I throw in a little coarsely chopped cilantro for color and add the remaining minced onions at the end for texture.
That's it. The best tasting tomatillo sauce you've ever eaten. I made A LOT. Some will be frozen for later (chicken enchiladas), some went into the fridge for now, and some was used for dinner.
|Bonnie's "Sort Of Huevos Rancheros (Sort Of)"|
I'm not sure what to call this dish. It consists of what I had on hand.
On an oven-proof plate, lay down two freshly warmed corn tortillas, spread some mashed black beans on top, and add a soft poached egg (or you can fry it sunny side up, but the yolk should be soft so that it runs over the beans and tortillas when broken). You won't believe how much richness the egg adds to the dish. Don't leave it off. Top the whole thing with some more tomatillo sauce, and some white melting cheese (I used Monterrey Jack because that's what I had in my fridge, but Mexican cheese would be terrific). Slip the whole plate under the broiler for a few minutes and serve with more tomatillo salsa, guacamole, some chopped fresh orange heirloom tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream.
Heaven on a plate! This would be great for breakfast or brunch. We couldn't wait that long, so we ate it for dinner.