YOWEE!! Salsa verde is too hot!

stacy3August 29, 2008

I am making this recipe from a june 07 issue of bonappetit - and the salsa verde is just cooking. the store only had 2 lbs of tomatillos so I scaled the recipe down a bit and used one jalapeno and it's still SOOOO hot! And I like hot. I have some green tomatoes in my garden and that's the only thing I can think of to remedy it - am I totally off base? Will cooking it a bit longer tone it down any?

What do you think? The flavor is good, but heck, I don't want to set us all on fire.

Salsa Verde

Makes about 4 cups.

3 pounds tomatillos, husked, rinsed

2 large jalape chiles, stems removed

5 small garlic cloves, peeled

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 1/2 bunches fresh cilantro, thick bottom stems trimmed

3/4 cup loosely packed fresh Italian parsley leaves

1/3 cup (packed) fresh mint leaves

1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Mix first 2 ingredients in large saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until soft, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand 15 minutes. Drain.

Coarsely chop tomatillo mixture, garlic, and cumin in processor using on/off turns. Add next 3 ingredients; blend until herbs are chopped and salsa is chunky.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add salsa and simmer until slightly thickened and reduced to 4 cups, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt.


Stacked chicken enchiladas with salsa verde and cheese

Bon Appétit : June 2007

These easy enchiladas have a bright, lively flavor thanks to lots of tomatillos, fresh herbs, and two kinds of chiles.

Makes 6 servings.

Roberto Santibañez

Rosa Mexicano

2 poblano chiles* (8 ounces total)

6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

12 (5- to 6-inch-diameter) corn tortillas

4 cups salsa verde, divided

2 cups shredded roasted chicken, divided

3/4 cup sour cream, stirred to loosen, divided

6 ounces grated Emmenthal, Muenster, or Mexican Chihuahua cheese (about 1 1/2 cups packed)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Pickled red onions

*Fresh green chiles; available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and Latin markets.

Char chiles directly over gas flame or in broiler until blackened all over. Enclose in paper bag; let stand 10 minutes. Peel and seed, then cut into 2x1/2-inch strips.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tortilla to skillet; cook until slightly softened, about 15 seconds per side, turning with tongs. Transfer tortilla to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining tortillas, adding oil to skillet as needed.

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You have one really hot pepper! I'd go ahead and add the green tomatoes to tone it down. Sounds delicious. Will cooking it tone down the heat? Nah.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 3:52PM
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Stacy, the peppers I have had this year are crazy hot! I just finished a batch of Habanero Gold (been making it for years) that is so hot it is inedible :( I'll try and use it as a glaze or some such thing but it is on fire!

I would divided the batch in half and add lots of chopped ( food processor) green tomatoes to one half. See if that works and then gradually add back the other half until you like the taste.

I also think this recipe could benefit from some lime or lemon juice. I'm really surprised there is none in it. I would add some it really cuts the heat. As a guidleine , my recipe for salsa verde calls for 1 cup of lime juice to 6 cups tomatillas, 1 1/2 cups hot peppers and 4 cups onion.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:11PM
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Jalapenos vary in their heat level. Some are disapointingly mild. You got some extra hot ones apparently. Green tomatoes are a reasonable sub for the tomatillos, especially since you already have tomatillos in the salsa.

Aren't there a couple more steps to the enchiladas? Everything sounds delicious so far.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:12PM
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My jalapeños that I have growing in a pot on my deck are the hottest peppers i have ever grown. I attributed to the soiless potting mix recipe I use from the Container Forum on the Garden side.
I agree to try adding the green tomatoes in the vain of stretching the recipe.
I think cooking it longer will intensify the heat!
Using the sour cream in the rest of your dinner should help counteract some of the heat in the the stacked enchiladas.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 4:22PM
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Thanks Eileen. I grabbed some little green tomatoes and added and it seemed to help. Sharon, thanks also for helping me realize I'm not a wimp (cuz, I know you know one if you see one - lol)

I spread the bottom of the pan with some of the salsa but checked back in here. I will try a little lime as well.

Jim, thanks for pointing that out. My cut and paste didn't do so well, did it. i found the recipe online after i found it in the old magazine and took it from there. I messed it up. Here is the rest!

Spread 1/2 cup salsa over bottom of 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 4 tortillas over salsa, covering bottom of dish completely, overlapping slightly, and extending about 1 1/2 inches up sides of dish. Scatter 1 cup chicken over tortillas, then half of poblano strips. Spoon 1 1/2 cups salsa over, spreading evenly. Spoon 1/4 cup sour cream over in small dollops. Cover with 4 tortillas, overlapping slightly. Layer with remaining 1 cup chicken, remaining poblanos, 1 cup salsa, and 1/4 cup sour cream. Cover with remaining 4 tortillas, then 1 cup salsa, and remaining 1/4 cup sour cream. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake casserole until bubbling and cheese is lightly browned, about 35 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces; divide among plates. Sprinkle with cilantro. Spoon pickled red onions alongside; serve.

ahhh - magothyrivergirl - I hadn't thought of it in the context of the whole recipe! Thanks for pointing that out. The flavor is great - but I can see it not being appreciated by everyone - the way it is...

Thanks everyone! I'll report back.


Here is a link that might be useful: recipe

    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 5:01PM
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This is totally my experience, so others may differ, but I haven't found green tomatoes a satisfactory substitute for tomatillos. I wish. Since I have a ton of green tomatoes right now, if they worked for me, I'd be ecstatic.

But ripe tomatillos to me have a sweetness green tomatoes just don't duplicate. The last time I tried subbing green tomatoes in a tomatillo salsa where I came up short I was an unhappy camper.

I'd recommend considering buying more tomatillos and making a second batch sans jalapenos then combining the two and freezing the excess.

The recipe sounds delicious and I'm definitely cutting and pasting. I hope whatever route you go works for you.


    Bookmark   August 29, 2008 at 7:28PM
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Jalapenos can just be too hot even with seeds removed. Using just tomatillos for sauce is often enough if you like mild chili. They are spicy tasting but not hot and still give you a tasty sauce. I don't think you can add enough tomatoes or tomatillos to tone down jalapenos if they are too hot. I would just start over, don't throw more vegetables away. Maybe I'm a wimp

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 12:47AM
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thanks Carol - thank goodness I guess - that I only have one tomato plant - lol. I only got 3 small tomatoes off of it, and I don't think they made much difference.

Well, the problem I had was that i could only find the 2 lbs of tomatillos. I didn't have enough salsa verde and it was a little dry - but then again, if I had had more we probably couldn't have eaten it due to the heat - LOL.

BTW, of all the baking dishes I have, I didn't have an 8 x 8 - so I used an 11 x 7. And I used muenster cheese. what is that orange stuff on the outside of muenster cheese and why is it there?

The taste was good, and I will try again - when I can make the full amt of salsa verde. And I will start with smaller amounts of jalapeno and add until it's right.

Or better yet, I will use AnnT's recipe - which I forgot I had until now....

Stacked Enchiladas -Ann T
Source: Southwest Cookbook
Here is the recipe Helene for the Stacked Enchiladas. I see no reason why you couldn't layer these over lapping in a lasagna pan and then slice to serve. You will have to double the ingredients for the sauce as well as the fillings.
Vegetable oil for frying
12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
1 1/2 cups (12 fl ounces) green Chili Sauce (recipe on page 195)
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cups finely chopped onion
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour vegetable oil into a medium , heavy skilled to depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat to 375°F, or until a strip of tortilla browns in 60 seconds. Soften the tortillas, one at a time, for about 5 seconds per side in the hot oil and drain on paper towels.
Heat the green chili sauce in a shallow pan and dip each softened tortilla into the sauce. Place 1 coated tortilla on an oven proof plate and top with 1 tablespoons green cili sauce, 2 tablespoons grated cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion; repeat twice so that 1 serving contains 3 layered tortillas. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 tortilla stacks. Bake the stacks for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
NOTE: Add cooked chicken and or pinto or black beans between layers.
Green Chili Sauce
1 Jalapeno chili seeded and diced
1 garlic clove crushed
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 tomatillos, husked and diced (or use canned)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 new Mexico green or Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled, cored, seeded and diced.
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, place the jalapeno , garlic, green onions, tomatillos and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat' reduce heat and simmer until theliquid is reduced to about 1 cup about 15 to 20 minutes.
Pour the chicken stock misture into a blender or food processor. Add the Anaheim chilies, cilantrol and lime juice; puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Add the cream and mix again. Serve warm. Keep 1 to 2 days refrigerated.

Servings: 4

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 10:54AM
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My homemade salsa was way too hot, so I started with small amts of sugar to cool the hotness and it worked and did not change the taste.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 11:47AM
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Canned tomatillos probably would have been a good sub. Looks delish!

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 11:51AM
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Most of the capsaicin is found in the seeds and white membrane, if you remove them before hand you can reduce the spice. Too late for that now I guess so I would just add extra tomatillos.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 5:11PM
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You could cook a carrot with it and pick out the carrot after awhile. Carrots seem to really soak up hot pepper juice. If you are frugal freeze the carrot and throw it in your next pot of chili. Another simple trick is to serve a dairy product along with hot stuff. A sip of milk tones the heat down in a hurry.

: )

Here is a link that might be useful: world famous chef on making hot sauce

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 6:56PM
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thanks everyone! Lyra, you must have already spoken with Will. He took one bite - disappeared into the kitchen and came back with TWO huge glasses of milk - LOL.

Stacy (I will try to remember that about the carrot)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 12:28PM
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It's difficult for me to imagine a hot jalapeño. I generally use Serranos instead because there is not enough heat in jalapeños, but you might have gotten a rogue or mutant chili. I'm growing some chilies de arbol and tabascos, and neither are as hot as I expected.

Friday I made chicken chili sauce, which is essentially chicken thighs poached with a bunch of chilies (Poblano, Ancho, and Guajillo, which are dried and mild, + a couple of chilies de arbol from the garden) and onion. I use the sauce as a basis for enchilada sauce and add sautéed onion, garlic, cumin, achiote paste, tomatoes & tomato paste, lime juice, and thicken it with a roux made from the skimmed off chicken fat. I MW the tortillas to make them soft and roll them up with the poached chicken meat that has half the sauce mixed in with it. I bake them in a rectangular baking pan, generally with a bit of Swiss cheese on top, and the remainder of the sauce, as needed. Sometimes I add cilantro, but I didn't have any, and the sauce is plenty flavorful as it is. The achiote paste gives it a Yucatecan flavor, which brings back fond memories of the times I've spent there. I used to go to the Yucatan every winter, when I lived in San Francisco, partly to get away from the cold.

I try to minimize the amount of cheese I use in enchiladas. I don't remember cheese being that common in Mexico (especially the Yucatan), but they do use crema, which is somewhat like English cream or cottled cream. I tend to leave that out as well, however. Although I like cheese in enchiladas, it really doesn't agree with me. I've noticed that the authentic interior Mexican restaurant food does not bother me, but Tex-Mex restaurant food does. Even in California, we get Tex-Mex restaurants, possibly because so many people move here from Texas. I think there are more here from Oaxaca, however.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 6:52PM
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