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Thursday, October 07, 2010

Tomatillo Sauce...Simple Easy!

My brother's wife, Laura, is a cute girl from Mexico that is the most amazing cook! Seriously. My husband even said so...he said it out loud, right in front of me.  I concur.  Great food...and her secret...SIMPLICITY.  Really!  Good ingredients=good flavor.
So the night the my husband told her she was the best cook (I'm going to keep saying that) she had made chicken enchiladas in tomatillo sauce. Not like any other enchilada I've ever tried. (by the way...I'm raising my hand over here in front of my husband..."I can cook too!"
My Mom grew tomatillos in her garden this year. It's a good thing...because they are pretty expensive in the gourmet section of the grocery store...AND more importantly, my brother and his wife live just one street over from my parents and my Mother has been able to learn the secrets of tomatillo sauce making from Laura visiting her kitchen often. I wish I lived that close...I'd probably stalk their kitchen every time a scent wafted from their home. "I want some of that!"
 Well, I visited my Mom and Dad last night...and they passed on Laura's maybe I can be the "next best cook in the world" according to my husband.
First you peel a bunch of tomatillos...they come with these unusual husks...and they are a little oily-sticky under the husks. Once you have a good collection of them, boil them in water with 2 cloves of garlic and a jalapeno pepper for 5 minutes.
 When they turn a little yellow-green, they are done.  Next, drain. Reserve the garlic too!
Then put them in the blender with a bit of water...maybe about 3/4 cup...the garlic and the jalapeno and blend till smooth. As far as measuring this recipe...if you have been reading any of my other recipes...I don't always like to measure precisely. Trust really can't mess up this is that simple.
It's going to look like strained peas baby food...but don't worry...won't taste a thing like them.  Tomatillos have a tart lemony tomato flavor that can be mild to strong. They aren't lemons, they aren't tomatoes...they're tomatillos. Pronounced {Toe-mah-tee-yos} Okay...that's it...sauce is done!  You can salt it if you would like...add seasoning of your choice...but nature did a pretty good job with this food so it's best not to mess with it too much.

I used frozen pork as my meat in the sauce. Chicken works well too. I would have used more, but this was literally the only chunk of meat I had in my house. That is unusual if you know how much I like to overfill my freezer. I like to have things on hand. that's how the cooking goes in my house. If I don't have it, I alter it!

Since I only had 40 minutes to make dinner, set the table, and gather the family (tumbling lesson tonight)...I tossed the mini pork roast into boiling water with kosher salt, a couple garlic cloves and a hot pepper. The pan in the background has chopped onions and olive oil in it for the chicken rice I will quickly explain in a minute. This is the point where, without fail, my husband comes into the kitchen to turn on the fan. I tend to like the smell of cooking onion, he somehow comes from where ever he that out in the yard or garage, in the basement or office--like clock work comes into the kitchen and turns on that fan. I don't think I'd remember to turn it on if it weren't for my "automatic-fan-turner-oner." Thanks, Jonathan! Love you! I do!

It thawed rather quickly, then I cut it into cubes, and cooked it in a skillet with olive oil and 2 cloves pressed garlic. I use olive oil for almost everything...except baking. The health benefits of olive oil are superior when compared to the other oils out there, plus good flavor. Just use lighter olive oil when you don't want the overwhelming flavor of Extra Virgin...though I don't mind using the extra virgin in just about any dinner dish.

 Brown the meat be careful not to let the garlic one likes that bitter metallic aftertaste. 
When the meat is browned, add the tomatillo sauce.  
While all this other is cooking on the stove, it would be nice to make some rice to go with it (remember I mentioned rice back there with the boiling frozen roast.) I use my rice maker, but add a few extras. I add one cube of chicken bullion for every cup of water I add to the rice.  

For more flavor, you can cook some onions in olive oil on the stove and add them to the rice cooker when the rice is nearly done. This step was easy for me, because I already had a bag of chopped onions that I froze the previous week. Freezers are a great thing! That's why I have a big chest freezer in the basement...never can have enough freezer space.

Now everyone oooh and aaahhhhh to apease me...

I still looks like strained peas, now with chunks of pork mind you...mmmmmmm. I dare say, it is not the most beautiful dish, however, it tastes delicious! That's what matters most, right? Now back to my husband thinking that my sister in law Laura is the best cook in the world...he thinks I'm pretty darn good too.
Tomatillo Sauce Recipe:
25-30 tomatillos
2-4 cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno pepper 
3/4 cup water
salt to taste
Boil Tomatillos garlic and jalepeno for 5 minutes.
Drain, then blend tomatillos, garlic and jalapeno with 3/4 cup water.

1-4 pound pork 
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil 
(kosher) salt to taste 
Cut pork into 3/4 inch cubes. Cook in skillet with olive oil and garlic until lightly browned and cooked through.

Chicken Onion Rice:
2 cups rice
4 cups water
4 bullion cubes
1 sweet onion chopped 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
Cook onion in skillet with olive oil until onions are clear and just start to brown on the edges. Add bullion cubes to your rice as it is cooking.  Remember to stir the bullion when the cube breaks don't want concentrated sections of bullion.  Unpleasant surprise for sure.  Stir in onions during the last few moments of cooking.

Serve with warm corn tortilla shells.  I didn't have any--not even in my freezer, but it would have been ymmy with this dish. 


  1. that looks yummy, and easy!! I Will try it!! thanks for sharing- i LOVE to cook!!

  2. That sounds like a great sauce!

  3. Hey Samantha, I love your blender! If it was Pink I would so find one!

    I saw your creative call and I wanted you to check out my blog.
    Now I don't blog it always but I make dresses and costumes and all sorts of stuff as well as scrapbooking.
    I even work with Provocraft now designing and I am their sewing specialist chick.
    I am working on some fabric wall decor and flowers right now.
    Anyways hope to see ya soon~ Pinky~

  4. WOW...this does look Yummy......thanks for the great pictures, too...easy to follow!

  5. So yummy! I just love mexican food. Now I know how to make tomatillo sauce; thanks!! :)

  6. OMW! Yummo! I love all time fav! Thanks for posting this and it doesn't help that it is lunch time...eek!

  7. Looks yummy!!! Thanks for sharing this :)

  8. I may just have to do a painting of the bowl full of tomatillos.

  9. Drooling.. I'm drooling.. This all reminds me of my friend Juan and his mom. They are from Mexico and his mom is always wanting to cook meals for everything. She is the BEST! LOVE her salsa and her homemade tortillas. She has offered to give me some lessons... thinking it's finally time to get on that!

  10. You're right, the picture doesn't look that tasty but it sounds wonderful! Thank you for the detailed instructions and pictures. I would love to try making tomatillo sauce.


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