Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

This recipe is a variation of the Tomatillo Green Sauce that I posted a few years ago. In this one, you don’t need a grill and you still get a great sauce. For our broth, we used a home-made broth that we made with the bones from a smoked turkey. I love the smokey flavor that comes from a broth like this. You can use whatever broth you want. The peppers we used are all from the last harvest from our plants that we picked just before our first freeze. A lot of the peppers were pretty small so we wanted to use them up before they go bad.

Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

Our Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed and cut in half
  • 3 to 5 cloves of garlic
  • 4 jalapeno peppers
  • 2 small (or 1 large) green bell peppers
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into quarters
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 bunch of fresh cilantro, leaves only
  • 1 cup of chicken or turkey broth
  • Zest and juice of 2 lime

Directions

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the seeds from the poblano peppers and bell peppers. Also, since the seeds and inner membrane contain the heat, remove the seeds from some of the jalapeno peppers. We leave the seeds in 2 of the jalapeno peppers to keep some heat in the final sauce.

I will note that we cooked our peppers first and this made removing the seeds harder. The peppers get slimy and the seeds stick to the cooked peppers so make it easier on yourself and remove the seeds before cooking.

Roasted jalapeno, poblano and bell peppers

Roasted jalapeno, poblano and bell peppers. As you can see, we are in the process of removing the seeds from the roasted peppers. It would have been much easier to remove them before we roasted them.

Once you’ve taken the seeds out of the peppers, put the tomatillos, garlic, jalapeno peppers, bell peppers, poblano peppers and onion into a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. We put about a teaspoon of both salt and pepper.

Prepare your baking sheet by putting a layer of foil on it and giving the foil a light coating of olive oil. With all the vegetables coated with the olive oil, salt and pepper, spread them onto your baking sheet in an even layer. Take care to make sure the cut halves of the tomatillos are facing up. This will keep all (or most) of the juices from the tomatillos from spilling out.

Tomatillos, jalapenos, poblanos, bell peppers, onions and garlic before being roasted.

This is our baking sheet with all the vegetables spread out before we put them in the oven to roast. Notice that the cut sides of the tomatillos are facing up. This keeps the juices from spilling out and making a mess.

Place the baking sheet in the center of your oven and roast until the vegetables are soft. This will probably take at least 20 minutes but might be longer. Ours took about 30 minutes until the tomatillos were soft.

Once roasted, put the vegetables into a large pot or dutch oven. Add the cilantro, lime juice, lime zest and broth. Simmer over medium-low heat for 10 minutes.

Tomatillos, onions, garlic and cilantro in our dutch oven.

Here are the tomatillos, onions, garlic and cilantro in our dutch oven. At the time, we were getting the seeds out of the peppers.

Now, use your immersion blender to turn this into a sauce. You can use a food processor or blender if you don’t have an immersion blender.

The immersion blender while making the tomatillo sauce.

Here is sauce while we were using the immersion blender. I hope you can tell it’s pretty liquefied with just a little amount of chunks.

Once it is cooled, you’ll have a great sauce for chips or using as a base in Mexican dish. We’ll be mixing ours with grilled pork for a pork stew.

Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

Our Roasted Tomatillo Sauce

You can use it immediately, store it in the refrigerator for a few days or put it into a freezer bag and freeze it for a later day.

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Armadillo Eggs

If you search out “Armadillo Eggs” you find an array of recipes. Some of them are what I consider jalapeno poppers, rather than Armadillo Eggs. Our version of Armadillo Eggs consists of chicken breast pieces inside a jalapeno and wrapped in bacon. A jalapeno popper would be cream cheese inside the jalapeno.

We decided these Armadillo Eggs would be our main meat course for dinner on Friday night so we used more chicken and less bacon than customary for these items. They are typically served as an appetizer so you aren’t expected to eat too many of them.

Ingredients

  • 9 large jalapeno peppers, halved and seeded
  • 2 1/2 large chicken breasts
  • 9 strips of bacon
  • 1 tbsp chili pepper

Directions

Cut the chicken breasts into 1 inch strips. Then, lay these inside the hallowed-out halves of the jalapenos.

Here is the chicken  strips placed inside the jalapeno halves.

Here is the chicken strips placed inside the jalapeno halves.

Using one bacon strip at a time, stretch it out and cut it in half. Lay each half length wise over one of the chicken filled jalapenos. We wrapped the ends under the jalapenos to help keep it in place. If your bacon isn’t long enough to do this, you can use toothpicks to hold the bacon on top.

Prepare an oven pan and heat the over to 425 F. We laid some foil on the bottom of the pan to make clean-up easier and put a small rack over the foil to keep the jalapenos elevated above the grease that gathers on the bottom.

Here are the Armadillo Eggs ready for the oven.

Here are the Armadillo Eggs ready for the oven.

Place the bacon covered jalapenos on the rack and then sprinkle with chili pepper. Now put the pan in your oven. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.

Armadillo Eggs right out of the oven.

Finished Armadillo Eggs

Texas Chili

It’s Superbowl Weekend and what better to go with the big game than a big bowl of homemade chili. I think everyone in Texas has a favorite chili recipe but no one seems to agree whether there should be beans or not. Well, I’ve had great chili both ways so I am not partial to one way or the other. I know some people say real Texas chili has no beans, but, I don’t agree. I’ve always had chili in Texas and I find it both ways, so that tells me there’s no “one way” to make your chili. The best thing is to find a simple recipe that you can go back to time and again. Also, your go-to recipe shouldn’t include a prepackaged pouch of spices, that’s just not right. This is just such a recipe and it does not have beans.

This recipe is very flexible and you can customize it to meet you heat tolerance and available spices. It’s loosely based on the chili recipe provided by Congressman J. J. Pickle from the 1oth District, TX. That would be the Austin area at the time he was in Congress. This also is the district that LBJ represented from 1937 until 1949.

This will serve 6 to 8. You can refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

20160207_Texas_Chili.jpg

Texas chili simmering

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chuck roast, chili ground or small cubed
  • 3 tbls corn oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Hot water
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp tabasco
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • 1 8oz can tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes (or 1 8oz can of tomato sauce)
  • 3 tbsp masa harina (or flour)

Directions

Put the corn oil into a large, cast-iron pot. Add the meat, onions and garlic and sear over high heat, stirring constantly, until the meat turns light grey. Add the hot water to just cover the meat, onions and garlic. Then add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT or the masa harina. If needed, you can add a little more water if the mixture is too thick. Reduce heat and simmer for at least 2 1/2 hours. On a low temp, this can go for hours. Skim of the grease. If the chili is too thin, sprinkle with the masa harina and stir, then simmer for 15 additional minutes to thicken.

To serve this, put into a bowl and add your favorite condiments. I like to sprinkle it with cheddar cheese and some finely chopped onions. You can also add a spoonful of sour cream. This chili goes really well with some homemade cornbread or the Texas favorite Saltine crackers.

Chorizo, Squash, and Jalapeno Corn-Bread Stuffing

Here is our golden brown stuffing right out of the oven

UPDATE – this is a repost from a couple years ago. I seem to have messed up that post and couldn’t find it. I found out that my bookmark wasn’t working and that I had changed the URL. That post is here.

This is from a recipe that we found in a magazine a long time ago. It was part of a group of recipes that we used to create a southwestern inspired Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a great alternative to the standard stuffing with a lot more flavor and complexity. By the way, don’t be afraid of the jalapenos, you’re going to remove the seeds and interior veins so it won’t be too hot, but you can cut back on the amount of the peppers if you have sensitive eaters at your table.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled ans cut into 1/2 cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 ounces chorizo sausage, casing removed
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped green onions (about 8 large)
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped seeded & deveined jalapeno peppers (about 4 large peppers)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • Cornbread (2 packages of cornbread mix – see Quick Buttermilk Cornbread below)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine the squash and 1/2 cup of water in a large skillet. Bring the water to boil over medium high heat. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for about 7 minutes, until the squash is almost tender. Uncover them and sprinkle them with salt. Boil uncovered until squash is tender and water has evaporated, about 2 minutes. Let them cool completely.

Then, saute the chorizo in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked and fat is rendered. About 5 minutes. Break up the chorizo with the back of a fork. Now, strain the chorizo and dippings over a bowl.

Using the same skillet that you just cooked the chorizo, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, green onion, celery and chilies. Saute the items for 8 minutes then mix in the drained chorizo, cilantro, sage, and squash. You can make this a day ahead. Just store it covered in your refrigerator.

Here is our chorizo mixture. We made it on Wednesday night so it will be easier to put together on Thanksgiving morning.

Now, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a glass baking dish. Coarsely crumble corn bread into a large bowl and mix in the chorizo mixture. Using a small bowl, beat eggs and 1/2 cup broth. Now, add the egg mixture to the stuffing. Gently toss this together. If the mix is too dry, mix in additional broth, 1/4 cups at a time. Transfer this stuffing mix into the prepared glass baking dish and cover with buttered foil, butter side down. Bake this for 45 minutes and then uncover and bake until the top of the stuffing is crisp and gold, about 15 minutes.

Here is our stuffing ready to go into the oven.

CORNBREAD

For the cornbread, use 2 packages and make this before you’re ready to begin putting the stuffing together. You can use any cornbread you like. If you are at a loss, here’s an easy recipe for home made cornbread from scratch or you can use the recipe below:

Cornbread

Here’s the finished cornbread. A classic, just like my Granny would have made in this old skillet.

Mix the following:

  • two 8.5 ounce packages of corn bread mix
  • 1.5 cups of buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted

Blend these items in a large bowl, then transfer to a prepared pan. Bake the bread until tester inserted into the center is clean, about 25 minutes. When it’s done, cool it on a rack. You can make this a day ahead. Just wrap the bread in foil and store it at room temp until you’re ready.

Doña Sauce – a simple jalapeño hot sauce

This hot sauce shows up in various forms at Mexican food restaurants all over Austin. There are as many names for this sauce as there are variations but I like Doña. The Doña sauce is the green sauce from Tacodeli, a really popular restaurant here in Austin. The Austin American Statesman posted this recipe a few weeks ago and we’ve made it three or four times since then.

For those of you unfamiliar with this sauce, it is a very creamy rich sauce. It’s obviously hot, but I don’t think it’s fire-in-your-mouth hot. If the heat bothers you, try taking out the seeds and veins from the peppers to reduce the heat or you can mix in other peppers to balance out the heat. Other peppers you could try are Hatch, poblano, and bell peppers to temper down the heat. In fact, we’ve made a great sauce just using Hatch peppers that worked really well on enchiladas.

This recipe will make about 1 liter of Doña Sauce.

For a smoked version, try our Smoked Doña Sauce.

Ingredients

  • 12 jalapeño peppers (or serrano)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, peeled & minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • a pinch or two of salt

Directions

Begin by taking the stems and seeds out of the peppers. Then boil the peppers in a medium pot of water. Simmer them for about 12 minutes. The peppers should be soft and start to darken. Reserve some of the water and then strain the peppers in a colander.

Using a blender, process the cooked peppers, garlic and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and salt. Once these ingredients are mixed well and come together, turn on the blender and slowly add the olive oil. The sauce should start to thicken and become creamy.

Now you can use the sauce for a dip, add it to rice to give it a kick, use it as a marinade or what ever else you might do with a hot sauce. Some of the alterations that we’ve tried and work really well are using other types of peppers and grilling the peppers instead of boiling them. During Hatch Chili Season (yes, that’s a thing here in Austin) we made this sauce using grilled hatch peppers – it was so good and creamy with just a little heat.

Here is a link to another variation that is really good: http://whatscookinerndog.blogspot.com/2011/08/green-gold-erins-wannabe-taco-delis.html
The point being, you really can’t go wrong with this sauce so give it a try!

Tomatillo Green Sauce

This is a green tomatillo sauce that we made for enchiladas. We made extra and have used the sauce for a salsa dip and in tacos. It’s very versatile and tasty!

UPDATE: If you don’t want to use a grill, or don’t have one, try this Roasted Tomatillo Sauce recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 or 5 jalapenos, chopped
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

Grill the tomatillos on your grill over high heat for about 10 minutes. You want them to have a little char but still a little firm. Then grill the poblano peppers until the skins are black. Allow the poblanos to cool in a plastic bag, this will help when you remove the skins. Once cooled enough to be able to handle, peel the skins off the peppers and then chop them.

grilled tomatillos

Saute the onion, garlic and jalapenos in olive oil until soft, then remove from heat to cool.

Onion peppers garlic

Mix the tomatillos, poblano, onion, garlic and jalapenos in a blender until smooth. Then move into a pan and add the chicken stock. Allow to simmer for 1/2 hour.