Saturday, July 31, 2010

Being careful what I wish for

Remember the blogger who was a little afraid she might not have enough enchilada sauce to last her all year long?

Husking tomatillos is a sticky, somewhat tedious business. Fortunately a dear friend came by and she and I talked chickens and children while she cheerily helped me peel every single usable tomatillo in the buckets -- and that harvest trug was also full yesterday, from the fallen fruit in the bed. Having her there helped immensely, not only for the work, but because when I'd grimace and flick my sandal off of my foot, she'd calmly say, "Earwig?" "Uh huh," I'd reply, "Toewig," and we'd go on.

Once they were peeled, I shifted them from soapy water to draining rack. I wasn't really trying to get all of the sticky off, just the earwigs, their leavings, and any stray garden dirt or plant matter. Just a dunk and a rinse, really.

Added to them were the outsides of as many peppers as I could get at the market. It was, unfortunately, not a banner day for peppers. If hot hot hot salsa was a good idea, I could have made this with any amount of peppers, but I wanted a mix between the mildness of Anaheims and a tiny bit of Jalapeno. Instead, I got mostly Pasillas. You can also tell that I didn't start the salsa until after dinner. Peeling those babies took up a bigger part of the afternoon than I'd bargained for; and the kids were too hungry to wait for me to finish a batch!

I used the food processor to chop things, because it's faster and also because I don't want a chunky salsa, the way I would if it were going on chips or something like that. I did miss enough that there's going to be chunks, especially of onions. I have bags of frozen chopped onions from the harvest with the soft places, so it's fairly easy to measure.

I prefer lime to lemon juice. After this batch, though, I think I like a mix of vinegar to lime juice the best. As long as the juice is bottled, I believe the acidity is safe for canning. Vinegar would sort of be insurance too.

The trusty food processor turned these

Into this pretty quickly. Sometimes I poured off a little bit of juice -- it tends toward wateriness anyhow.

Spices like cumin and oregano add just the right flavor

And I use kosher salt because I haven't found canning salt in my area yet. It may not be perfect, but it works okay.

Simmer all the sauce for 20 minutes, then put in jars and process. Last night, I doubled the batch (according to the hot pepper amount) and only got nine pints.

That's really pretty terrific - a batch of enchiladas takes about two. It would be more terrific if there weren't the equivalent of another five gallon bucket of peeled tomatillos waiting. I can freeze them, cook them and freeze them, can them whole, or go and get more peppers today and make another double batch. A new recipe for enchilada sauce crossed my radar while I was writing this, with larger amounts than mine. Maybe I'll try that one tomorrow night.

When I went to bed, the cat was nosing after one of the earwigs walking across the floor. Guess I didn't get them all when I swept. Eeew.

The recipe I used can be found here, and it's fairly straightforward.

Tomatillo Green Salsa
  • 5 cups chopped tomatillos
  • 1-½ cups seeded, chopped long green chiles
  • ½ cup seeded, finely chopped jalape&ntildeo peppers
  • 4 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup bottled lemon or lime juice
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano leaves (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Serve by making an enchilada "lasagne" using corn tortillas for the "noodle" layer. I use queso fresco for an authentic cheese, and either chicken or black beans and corn for the filling. Layer, then top with more tortillas and some jack cheese, then bake covered at 350 degrees F for 30-45 minutes, or until everything is bubbly and the cheese is melty. Take the top off until the cheese browns a bit.


meemsnyc said...

Thanks for posting this. This recipe sounds amazing. I'm going to have to try it.

Instead of tomatillos, can one use green tomatoes?

Stefaneener said...

meemsnyc, yes, you can! I don't know if it would taste exactly the same, but the recipe specifies it.d

Rachel said...

I can't wait to make this!

Amy said...

Looks like you had a great day cooking and bottling!

kitsapFG said...

I really love processing produce with a friend helping. It makes the tasks so much more enjoyable and the time passes quickly. Our annual earwig invasion has yet to get in full swing. They usually completely eat the silks off the corn ears - so it is a race against time to get the corn pollinated before the earwigs eat the silks. Nasty creatures.

Mr. H. said...

Thank you for posting the recipe, we are both very much looking forward to trying it as with any luck we will also have an abundance of tomatillas again this year.

Jackie said...

I had the exact same thing happen to me last year with the tomatillos... It looked like I was going to get only a handful, but ended up with a bucket full.

This year, it looks like we'll get a lot of tomatillos, so I'll be trying out your recipes. Thanks!

Stefaneener said...

Rachel, let me know how you like it.

Amy, it's hard to remember that sometimes! It is a good thing.

kitsapFG, everything goes better with helping hands! My daughter had an earwig in her hair this morning. Much commotion. They are pretty all-round horrid.

Mr. H., enchiladas for everyone! Some people just like to use it as a tortilla sauce.

Jackie, I'd love to see a round up of everyone's sauce creations.

Kalena Michele said...

Good Lord!! That's a lot of tomatillos. lol

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Oh, you're really going t make me cry.

Your tomatillos are so beautiful.

Jan said...

Getting tomatillos ready sounds like a horrid business, I just hate earwigs so! I might have a go at your recipe using green tomatoes though.

Stefaneener said...

Kalena Michelle, no kidding. Even with every-day enchilada saucing, the bucket isn't emptying. I wonder if they're magical?

Lisa, you want some? I've hit the wall. . . email me.

Jan, I don't think earwigs are required. A lot of mine were picked up off of the ground. Perfect little earwig hotels -- shudder. But tomatoes might work just as well.

Christina said...

Yum. Now I am back in town and my tomatillos are exploding in quantities, so I think I may be making myself a batch of this too! Thanks for sharing the recipe!