Roasted Green Chile and Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce

A fun thing about Park City in the summertime is the Wednesday Farmers Market in the Canyons Resort parking lot. I’ve written about it before, and each year, I love seeing the familiar faces of the farmers again. I certainly have some favorite stops: Marvin’s for berries and other fruit, Ranui for wildflowers, and let’s never forget the limeade guy. The best markets come toward the end of the season when the produce is ripe and at its peak, which happens to be right now! Oden and I took a stroll around the booths last week, picking up fat blackberries and fresh basil and plump tomatoes, a crusty loaf of bread and a ball of locally made mozzarella cheese, peaches that would become baby food for Oden, a bag full of habanero peppers for John’s “Howie’s Habie” hot sauce, and a pile of beautiful tomatillos. (Sadly, the limeade guy wasn’t there!)

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The problem with bringing home lots of delicious stuff from the Farmers Market is that it’s generally all perishable. It’s a mad dash to enjoy it all before it spoils! I’d picked up the tomatillos with my Chile Verde in mind, but when I saw the green chile roaster out in front of Whole Foods, I went a different direction and came up with a tasty green sauce to stock the freezer for enchiladas when the temperature drops.

The first thing I did was roast a head of garlic. Roasted garlic has a deliciously sweet taste that is less harsh than raw garlic, and it’s so easy to do. I sliced off the end of a whole head of garlic, poured olive oil all over it, wrapped it in foil, and baked it at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes (until I could smell it). After it had cooled for a minute or two, I squeezed the cloves of roasted garlic out. They literally slide right out, already peeled, softened and scrumptious. I chopped them pretty finely so the garlic would melt into the sauce. Yum!

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While the garlic roasted, I worked on the chiles and tomatillos. I had to remove the husks from the tomatillos and wash off the sticky substance on their skins. Then I simply quartered them. The Hatch chiles were already roasted for me, so I simply had to get rid of the stems and seeds and chop them up. Since I knew I’d be pureeing the ingredients in the food processor, I didn’t waste much time with the chopping!

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Our sad little garden didn’t produce well this season, partly because Oden took up a lot of our time and partly because it was just a bad grow year. But we did manage to get some little hot peppers out of it, which I decided to add to the sauce. Is it me, or does one of them look like a sweet little heart?

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I tossed the tomatillos, chiles, and little peppers into the food processor and gave it a pulse or two. I added a big pinch each of salt and pepper and used my old citrus juicer to squeeze the juice of a whole lime into the mixture and blended it again. I love how you can see the little tomatillo seeds and red flecks of hot pepper in the puree!

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I poured the whole thing into a deep saucepan and stirred in the minced roasted garlic. I simmered the mixture for 45 minutes or so to get rid of any raw flavor and to allow the flavors to meld. The sauce was too chunky for me, almost like a (delicious) salsa, so I dunked my immersion blender into the pan and pureed it even more before stirring in a big dollop of plain Greek yogurt. The yogurt adds a mellow creaminess and has a similar tang to sour cream.

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All that was left to do was taste the sauce (YUM), adjust seasonings (more salt), and store it in labeled containers for the freezer. The sauce has a bit of a tang from the lime and tomatillos, a smoky quality from the roasted chiles, a hint of heat from the chiles and peppers, and that unmistakable mild and sweet roasted garlic flavor. How fun it will be to pull this sauce out of the freezer for a delectable meal with the fresh tastes of late summer…in the middle of winter! And judging by how quickly fall seems to be upon us, those chilly days are not far off…

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Roasted Green Chile and Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce

You’ll need:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 ½ pounds tomatillos, de-husked, rinsed, and quartered
  • 1 pound roasted green chiles, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 large jalapeño pepper, stemmed and cut into chunks (remove seeds if less heat is desired)
  • 1 scant cup plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut the end off of the head of garlic and drizzle olive oil all over it. Cover in foil and roast for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, and then squeeze out the cloves and fine chop them.

In a large food processor or blender, combine the tomatillos, green chiles, jalapeños, and lime juice. Process until blended. Pour mixture into a saucepan and add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Simmer on medium for 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat.

Using an immersion blender, puree the mixture until it’s relatively smooth. Stir in the yogurt and adjust seasonings to taste. Use as you would a canned or jarred enchilada sauce, and be sure to freeze some for the cold winter months ahead! YUM.

Hungry for more? Check out my collection of recipes by clicking HERE.

One year ago: Zucchini Coconut Muffins.

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