How to make salsa verde? A good one? Jump to Recipe
This question started with my friend Christina. Christina is a physical trainer and together we are absolutely obsessed with food. Every time we get together, 90% of the conversation centers around what we’re cooking and what we’ve recently loved. Christina is a whiz with her Instant Pot and she has slowly showed me The Way of the Instant Pot. Don’t have on yet? Get it here.
At any rate, one fateful day she suggested shredded chicken with salsa verde. It’s stunningly simple. Brown chicken in the Instant Pot, maybe season with a little taco seasoning, then dump a jar of salsa verde, seal and go! 10 minutes of pressure later and you have a delicious dinner. Serve with warm tortillas, rice or mashed plantains.
Now, because I am that girl who can never leave well enough alone, I noticed tomatillos on sale at the grocery store and decided to make my own salsa verde. Yes, it’s no longer the simple week night “go to” where it began. But, this recipe makes enough for 2 nights and I freeze (or give away to Christina) half the sauce. To my delight, when someone asked Christina what her favorite type of salsa was, she said “Stephanie’s Salsa Verde”.
I have a few tricks for my salsa verde. First, I grind my own cumin. Cumin, like many spices, loses potency once ground. I purchase my cumin seeds in bulk. The advantages to bulk seeds are that they don’t lose their potency as quickly and they’re a lot less expensive. Badia makes a good product, available here.
I grind my cumin in a stone mortar and pestle that my husband gave me. It can be a bit tedious, but it’s worth the extra effort. The freshly ground spice has a much stronger flavor and my arm and shoulder gets a great little workout. I particularly like this mortar and pestle because it has 2 sides with different depths:
Second, I coat the fresh vegetables in oil and the freshly ground cumin, then broiling them to a slight char. The charring adds another depth of flavor. Once I’ve finished roasting the vegetables I like to simmer them on the stove top for another 30 minutes or so. The longer you simmer it, the milder the peppers will be in the sauce. I use an entire jalapeno, seeds and all, but the roasting and simmering produces a mild sauce that even my most sensitive kid will eat.
At this point you can serve a warm, chunky salsa verde or take an extra step to puree with an immersion blender. If you’re going to serve it cold, as a chip dipping sauce I recommend the extra step to puree. The chunky salsa is great over roasted chicken, or some other whole meat. For shredded chicken, it definitely needs to be pureed.
How to Make Salsa Verde:
Stephanie's Roasted Salsa Verde
- 2 pounds tomatillos
- 1 jalapeno pepper
- 2 poblano peppers
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 2-4 Tbsp cumin, divided
- 1/3 cup olive oil, divided
- salt & pepper to taste
- Line 2 baking sheets with tin foil or silicone mat for easy clean up.
- Husk and rough chop the tomatillos. Rough chop the jalapeno and poblano peppers, include the seeds for a spicier version or de-seed to make the salsa verde more mild. Rough chop the garlic and onion.
- Place all the chopped vegetables in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir in 2 Tbsp cumin, salt and pepper. Add olive oil and cumin as needed to fully coat all vegetables. Pour out on to prepared baking sheets, spreading evenly.
- Broil on top rack 5 to 10 minutes, stirring at the 5 minute mark to check on the vegetables. Broil until starting to soften and blacken a little. Some charring will add to the flavor.
- Remove from oven and drain both baking sheets into a sauté pan, including all accumulated juices.
- Bring vegetables to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer approximately 30-45 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove from heat. Use an immersion blender to puree ingredients. Sauce should be rich and thick. Serve warm over tacos or meat of your choice. Sauce can also be chilled for a dip.
- Immersion/stick blender
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