Tomatillo Salsa Verde

September 9, 2011

Let’s just call this liquid gold my friends. Salsa Verde made from beautiful tomatillos, charred peppers, cilantro, cumin. Just yum Fresh salsa disappears in our house within a matter of days. From sweet to savory, mild to spicy, different textures – the possibilities are endless.

After having some amazing chicken and white bean enchiladas with a spicy salsa verde while on vacation in Playa Del Carmen with the boyfriend, I’ve wanted to recreate it. Using a recipe I slightly adapted from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, this Tomatillo Salsa Verde is a keeper. The only adaptations I made to tat recipe were the spices and types of peppers. To achieve a deep, slightly smoked flavor I did two things:

1. I roasted 3/4 of the tomatillos in a hot 500 deg. oven until the juices were sizzling out of them and they were slightly charred. I kept the other 1/4 raw to make sure the end product still had a nice green color.
2. I added quite a bit more cumin and then what really sealed the deal – smoked spanish paprika from Penzeys Spices. It has such great flavor that comes from it being naturally smoked over oak fires.

Salsa Verde

Note: I checked with the University of Missouri Extension services to make sure these changes were safe which was a very useful discussion to learn about canning safety! It is extremely important when canning things like salsa or other vegetables that you use a tested recipe from either the  National Center for Home Food Preservation, a state extension, or Ball Canning. These groups laboratory test their recipes for numerous requirements to ensure proper canning techniques and processing times that are utilized based on food acidity. The spiciness can be adjusted by using hot or mild peppers, or by adjusting the mix of peppers. You should not, however, increase the number of pounds or cups of peppers in the recipe; as well as onions. Increasing or decreasing the amount of peppers or onions can impact the acidity of the product, potentially making it unsafe.

Enjoy salsa verde as a simple appetizer with tortilla chips, added to a chicken tortilla soup, or smothered on enchiladas. It will definitely add deep flavor to whatever you choose!

Oh, and I can’t forget to mention another unique find at the market – ground cherries! How cute that they grow inside cute, paper latternlike husks? Eating them is like opening a fun little present every time you push one through the husk and pop it into your mouth. They burst with a unique flavor, a cross between a strawberry and pineapple, but not quite as sweet. What’s also cool about the husk is that it protects it from spoilage so they will stay good for up to six months if kept in a cool, ventilated place. You can make muffins, jams, marmalades, or savory tarts with them, but I prefer to eat them just as they are. If you can find some of these little treasures, be sure to try them!

Spicy Salsa Verde

(makes 4-5 half pint jars)

5 1/2 cups chopped, cored, husked tomatillos
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped peppers (i used a mix of green bell, jalapenos, and thai chilies)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup minced cilantro
1 T cumin
1 T smoked spanish paprika
1/2 t salt
1/2 cup vinegar
4 T lime juice

Have jars ready for canning, sterlized and hot. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Remove husks from tomatillos and place 3/4 of them on a baking sheet, reserve remaining 1/4. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes or until they are slightly charred and their juices are seeping out. While they are roasting, chop the onion and peppers in a food processor. Remove and put into saucepot you will be using to cook. Then remove tomatillos from oven, let cool a few minutes, and pulse in food processor along with the 1/4 raw tomatillos that you reserved. Add all tomatillos to the saucepot that has the onions/peppers, along with the garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, vinegar, and lime juice. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. During the last minute of cooking add the minced cilantro. Ladle hot salsa into hot sterilized jars. Place sterilized rings and lids on top, then return to boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool, listen for the pop!

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