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I need some help with Salsa Verde

On tomorrow's menu: chicken enchiladas with salsa verde. I have two very different recipes for the salsa verde -- one is made with green chile sauce that has roasted green chiles (I'd probably be using Anaheim) as a primary ingredient; this recipe is in the Rancho de Chimayo Cookbook. The other recipe,which is probably more traditional, is tomatillo-based. I can't decide which recipe to use. Can anyone give me some suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Oh, I'd go with the green chile sauce, and save the tomatillo based salsa for chips or something else.

    1. I'd be inclined to head for the first option; fuller flavor, not quite as tangy. I love Enchiladas with green chile sauce!! (But honestly, I'd probably make the second one too, and use just a spoonful to finish the plates. Nice point/counterpoint.)

      1. I would go for the green chile option, but the Anaheims are a poor substitute for the New Mexican chiles, unless you have a preference for very mild you will have to fire it up with some jalepenos or serrranos.

        2 Replies
        1. re: andrewtree

          It's really hard to find fresh New Mexico chiles here in southeastern PA. I lucked out and found some wonderful Hatch chiles a few weeks back, but those are long gone. I had been thinking of adding some serranos to the mix; jalepenos -- at least those I find around here -- are totally unpredictable with regard to heat.

          1. re: andrewtree

            I noticed some canned green Hatch chiles in the market yesterday. I wonder if they might be any good, and if I should add those to my chile mix.

          2. The one using lots of roasted green chiles is authentic New Mexico style (with variations in neighboring states). The use of tomatillos is more typical of Mexico, and can be either raw or cooked. I usually buy the tomatillo version (with hot chiles like seranos) in cans or jars. In many parts of Mexico, the darker Poblano is the mild fresh chile of choice, as opposed to the Anaheim and NM chiles.

            3 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              Ahhhh... now I understand -- it's a regional distinction. I can almost always find Poblanos in my local market. I was going to use Anaheims because that's what the recipe had recommended (in the absence of New Mexico green chiles).

              1. re: CindyJ

                Here's a Mexican style chicken enchilladas using a tomatillo salsa verde, poblanos, and cream


                Sara's guest on this episode was Roberto Santibanez

                1. re: CindyJ

                  The New Mexican chiles (usually 'Hatch') are only available fresh for a few weeks of the year, I have the same challenge in the Pacific NW. I bought many pounds, roasted and froze them some weeks ago.
                  If you want to make 'authentic' New Mexican style Salsa Verde you could source frozen Hatch chiles, second best is to use a jarred brand, there are cans too but personally I think they are awful. The nearest you will get otherwise is to use Anaheims with serranos for heat, Poblanos good as they are, have a quite different flavor.
                  If you do a search on this board under Hatch or Green chile you will find lots more info.

              2. I often just lay fresh roasted green chiles over my chicky enchies and top w/ dice onion & celantro.
                How do you like the Chimayo cookbook?

                3 Replies
                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  Do you mean you use roasted green chiles in addition to a chile sauce, or in place of?

                  This is my first time cooking from this cookbook. My husband and I had dinner at the Rancho de Chimayo about two years ago. What a treat that was! The food in that part of the country is unlike anything we get around here (southeastern PA), even though we have a sizable Latino population. In fact, I'm about to head out to one of our local Mexican markets to do my shopping. Maybe I'll luck out with the green chiles today.

                  I'll let you know how my "enchies" turn out. :)

                  1. re: CindyJ

                    Instead of the salsa, just a nice hot roasted and peeled fresh green chile!
                    Simplifiy, simplify, simplify.

                    I ate at Rancho do Chimayo 35 years ago; need to return.

                  2. Tomatillo may be the traditional with chicken enchiladas, and definitely with enchiladas suizas, and I like the flavor, but in large doses it can be a little overpowering. I think a 50-50 with tomatillo and either/both of the chilies you have would be tasty. I'm like paulj, I buy the canned tomatillo salsa but I like roasting my chilis. I scored 6 beautiful huge poblanos yesterday for 2 bucks!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Veggo

                      Vegg, if she's using the Chimayo cookbook, tomatillos are excellent w/ Mexican, but I think you know they are not common in New Mexico cooking. They are not used in any of our 6 or so local NM restaurants.

                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                        I didn't know that, thanks, Passa. I guess in the land of chilies they trump tomatillos. Pretty ristras this year? I was thinking of you during the balloon festival and a really neat artist's B&B I used to stay at right on the river and the winery upstream.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Yea, the high desert is too cold for tomatillos, but great for posole!

                    2. Okay, so here's what happened... somewhere along the way, something went terribly wrong. I have a feeling that the peppers labeled "Anaheim" that I bought at Wegman's were not Anaheim chiles at all. Now let me say that I believe I have a high tolerance for heat, and I love a good kick in the plate, but this green chile sauce turned out so hot as to be almost inedible. I did add a couple of roasted serrano peppers, but those two peppers could NOT have turned this quantity of sauce into El Diablo. I tried doctoring up the sauce by adding more of some of the ingredients already in the recipe -- crushed tomatoes and vegetable broth. That turned it into more of a tomato sauce than a chile sauce.

                      Since I had all the other ingredients ready to go, I proceeded with the recipe, using the sauce very sparingly. The enchiladas turned out just okay -- not great -- but I could see the potential in this dish with the right sauce. I really liked the blue corn tortillas (which are made right at the grocery store where I purchased them), and I had shredded the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken, which was really good.

                      But I'm still puzzled over the chiles. I googled Anaheim chiles, and the images I saw looked pretty much like the chiles I used. I don't think I've used Anaheim peppers before, but I'm under the impression that they're fairly mild. I should have tasted them after I roasted them, but I didn't. I'm not sure what I can do the next time to ensure I'm working with the right ingredients, but one thing I'm sure I'll do is taste the chiles before I incorporate them into a sauce. Oh well, ya live and learn.

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: CindyJ

                        Bummer. I think many of us have been burned by flaming chilies at some point. Tasting and improvising will be automatic for you now. I find that a Puerto Rican style of sofrito, which is sauteed sweet peppers, onions, garlic, and olive oil, is a good flavor supplement when chilies are just too strong for a chili dish and you don't want to just dilute with inert ingredients or tomatoes. And keeping a can of tomatillo sauce in the pantry gives you another tool. Those serranos pack a lot of punch for their size.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          I'll remember that idea of using sweet peppers, etc. to "soften" the sauce. I really don't think it was the serranos that did me in; I used two other serranos that I had roasted to give some guacamole a bit of a kick, and that was just the right amount of heat for three avocados.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Does the Chimayo cookbook have a recipe for sopaippilas? Filled w/ a squirt of honey, they are designed to cut the fire from spicy chiles.

                        2. re: CindyJ

                          Back a month or two I bought some Hatch chiles, wanting to get an idea of what all the hype was about. The ones I got were fairly hot, may not at the Jalapeno level. But in appearance they could easily have passed for Anaheims.

                          I regularly taste a nibble of poblanos, because occasionally one of those is quite a bit hotter than the rest.

                          1. re: paulj

                            Interesting you should say that because about a month ago some chiles tagged as "Hatch" showed up in my local supermarket. They were MUCH hotter than I would have expected -- hotter, even, than serranos.

                            1. re: CindyJ

                              I've got 90 lbs of roasted hot Hatch green chile in the freezer. waiting to take the winter chill away.

                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                WOW! That'll make for some warm winter nights. How do you typically use them?

                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  Green chile enchiladas, burritos, posole and huevos renacheros. Or just a topping for a steak or pork chop. I also make Chicken El Kievo, chicken Kiev, w/ green chile in w/ the butter. And a mean Chicken Cordon Green.

                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                    Weren't you just defending the honor of Count Stroganoff? :)

                                    1. re: paulj

                                      Never in Stroganoff! One must have standards. Notice that Kiev is the Ukraine, not Russia; and the French? Oh well, let them eat French Fries!

                                      Now a hot Hatch chile rellano is truly something beautiful to behold!

                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                        I'm still chortling over your chicken cordon green!
                                        Rellenos in my near future, I just blistered 6 perfect poblanos.

                                2. re: Passadumkeg

                                  90lbs? I'm envious, can't get them roasted in the PNW, roasting and peeling 20+lbs was work enough, made them all up into salsa verde and froze that.

                                3. re: CindyJ

                                  My roaster in Huerfano County, CO sold bags of both hot and mild roasted Hatch. The hot had more red color, and the heat difference was considerable.

                              2. re: CindyJ

                                Interesting, glad you rescued your dish! I wonder if the store you got them from had been cold storing some Hatch chiles from when they were in season. The Big Jim variety does indeed look like an Anaheim, (they have the same origins) and while normally of medium heat, can pack a punch. Be interesting to check with the store, certainly all the chiles I've bought that have been labeled Anaheim have been very mild. I sometimes ask to try a small piece of chile raw at the store so I know what I'm buying.

                                1. re: CindyJ

                                  Dammit, so THAT's where the 'good Anaheims' went. Perhaps the grower could have used a different variety than the usual (NM pod types look very similar, by definition) and/or grew them with less water in poor soil (which can concentrate heat) and/or got some seeds mixed up :-).
                                  - Next time be prepared to add *a small percentage* of tomatillos to temper the heat. Yes, I know, NM style sauce doesn't usually include them but I think a small amount of acidic product is an improvement.
                                  - BTW I've never made a Enchilada sauce dominated by tomatillos, hence the name.
                                  - If fresh tomatillos are rare in your area, canned is OK. OTOH I've really come to hate the so-called flavor of canned, non-pickled chiles.
                                  I'm really appreciating the concentrated flavor and heat of my frozen XHOT Hatch chiles. Just one pound made a Lot of sauce.