When you love enchiladas as much as I do, making your own enchilada sauce is a must. Green enchilada sauce always wins in my book for a key reason. It’s super easy! But also, the flavor profile of this tomatillo-based sauce packed with citrusy cilantro, aromatic onions and spicy peppers is a personal favorite. If you’re not into cilantro and tomatillos, try making my red sauce instead.
For green enchilada sauce, all you really have to do is roast everything, break it all down in a food processor (or blender), then strain the heck out of it. It’s almost as if you’re making my Salsa Verde with Roasted Poblano Pepper, except for salsa verde you might leave some ingredients raw. But here you want everything cooked, so you can extract the essence of all of these ingredients to yield a silky and smooth sauce. Using a fine mesh strainer will do the trick. To strain, gently stir everything in the stainer to let the juices fall through. To really get the last of it all, to press it all out using a firm soup ladle.
Note the absence of garlic here. When cooking with tomatillos over the years it never really tasted right and my more recent discovery was that garlic was the problem. From learning that tomatillos are actually related to gooseberries, it made sense that these two were not meant for each other. Garlic and berries? No. Also, the presence of a little sugar is needed in this green enchilada sauce to balance out the natural tartness of tomatillos. No need to go crazy and make it candy-like, so I only recommend a tablespoon at most.
- 15 tomatillos, husks removed and cored
- 2 large white onions, halved and peeled
- olive oil for roasting
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra for roasting
- 3 serrano peppers
- 3 poblano peppers
- 2 tablespoons ground Mexican Oregano
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed
- juice of one lime
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut all the tomatillos into equal-sizes. Small ones into halves, large ones into quarters.
- Cut the white onions into sizes matching the cut tomatillos. Toss these together in a large bowl. Add just enough olive oil to coat everything equally.
- Transfer oiled ingredients into a shallow, foil-lined 13 x 9 inch pan. Sprinkle tomatillos and onions with a few pinches of kosher salt. Roast this until tomatillos are tender and slightly browned, about 45 minutes. It will be really soupy and you want ALL of this juicy goodness!
- Meanwhile, cook the poblano and serrano peppers over a direct open flame on the stovetop. Once the skins are charred on all sides, remove from heat and peel the skins off. Remove the core, inner ribs, and if you want some heat feel free keep as many seeds as you see fit. If you don’t have a gas stove, simply roast them in the oven. Or, better yet – use a grill!
- In a food processor, combine the cooked tomatillo mixture, poblanos, Mexican oregano, sugar, 1 tablespoon of kosher salt, vinegar, cilantro and lime juice. Process on high until all ingredients are broken down as much as possible.
- Place a fine mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl. In 2-cup batches, pour the processed mixture into the strainer. Gently stir the ingredients around, extracting as much juice as possible.
- From here on out, the mission is to extract as much juice from the pulp in as many creative ways as possible. Being pressed with a rubber spatula, or a firm ladle works really well. Or you can try using a cheesecloth.
- Upon making an enchilada to order, you can further adjust seasonings to your liking when you’re reheating the sauce. For me, 1 cup of green enchilada sauce was enough for a serving of 3 enchiladas. And I do like mine quite saucy, but not necessarily soupy.
Yield: About 5 cups.