Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur

Tomatillo Sauce

Tomatillo sauce over slices of pork sirloin chop.

Looking into my refrigerator a couple of days ago, I noticed a single, small container of sour cream. Unopened. Expiration date? One week. This single item reminded me that, as always, I had a lot of food on hand, much of it perishable. Corn and pork chops in the freezer, rice and canned tomatoes in the cupboards, shredded cheese in the fridge. Most urgent though was the sour cream; nothing else had such a looming expiration date. As such, I resolved to make a few meals revolving around a theme that could readily incorporate sour cream: Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

I was lacking in produce, so a trip to the grocery store yielded some fresh veggies for my fridge, all of which would work well with Mexican: Jalapenos, sweet onions, cilantro, and tomatillos. I had never worked with tomatillos before, but after looking through several recipes, I resolved that making a tomatillo sauce was something I had to try.

My tomatillo sauce recipe most closely followed this one I found in the New York Times. I served it over pork instead of with salmon, and chose to wrap thin slices of pork with sauce in corn tortillas. Doing a little comparison shopping at the store revealed that corn tortillas were a much better deal than flour ones, and also fat free and relatively low calorie!

This was not a cheap recipe, largely because I bought tomatillos at the only place I could find them, and they were a whopping $4.19/pound. The cost for the amount of sauce was disappointing, but if I can find them on sale or find the canned version (which I assume might be cheaper), I will certainly make this recipe again.

Pork tacos with charred onion and tomatillo sauce, served with Spanish rice and corn cakes.

Tomatillo Sauce
Adapted from The New York Times’ Recipes for Health
8 ounces of tomatillos, husked & well-rinsed
1 jalapeno, seeded & roughly chopped
1/4 of a sweet onion
1 large clove garlic
3 tablespoons cilantro
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon lime juice

Cover the tomatillos in water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

Drain tomatillos and place them in a blender. Add jalapeno, onion, garlic, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and salt. Blend well. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, add sauce from the blender. Thicken for 4 to 6 minutes, stirring often. Add stock and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, until thickened and slightly reduced.

Pour back into the blender. Add remaining 1 tablespoon cilantro and lime juice and blend well. If desired, serve chilled.

Makes enough sauce for eight to ten tacos.
Total cost: $4.70
Total calories: 238

On Tweaking:

  • The last step with cilantro and lime juice brightens the color a bit, but if it’s too much bother, adding all the cilantro earlier and just adding the lime juice at the end, without a second round in the blender, won’t hurt your results.

Charred Onion Topping
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay thick slices of onion on the baking sheet. Brush both sides with olive oil; season with salt & pepper. Cook for roughly 10 minutes. Flip, then cook for another 10 minutes. Let cool slightly and chop roughly. If desired, serve chilled.

Tomatillo sauce has a smooth texture and a bright flavor, great for tacos!

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This entry was posted on April 30, 2012 by in Dinners and tagged .
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