A few years ago a friend of mine introduced me to a tomatillo. For those of you who do not know what a tomatillo is, it is a small green, tomato like vegetable that originally came from Mexico. The tomatillo grows inside a husk and when it is ripe, the tomato looking green vegetable fills out the husk and the husk splits open. Many times I find the tomatillo literally falling off of the vine when they are done.
The tomatillo has many vitamins making it a wonderful healthy treat on salads, in soups, or with a little bit of cottage cheese. The tomatillo has a sweet yet lemony taste to it. If picked too early, it can be quite tart.
This year, was my first attempt at growing them at my home as well as at my friends garden where we had an entire row of them. Just like the soup, the recipe I’m about to share is another one that I crave when thinking about fall and winter. It makes a yummy meal enjoyed throughout the colder months, and reserving any jars of it until the next harvest is nearly impossible. There are many uses for the Salsa Verde, however, my favorite is with chicken. This is such a simple recipe, whether you can the Salsa Verde yourself (my preference) or whether you buy it in a store. In fact, I shared it this weekend at our church’s fellowship potluck meal. Easy and quick to make.
Salsa Verde Chicken
1 pint Salsa Verde (recipe below)
4-6 Organic Chicken Breasts
4-6 slices, or 1 cup shredded Raw Cheddar Cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9×13 glass baking dish. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towel. Place chicken in bottom of baking dish and pour the entire pint of Salsa Verde over the chicken. Make sure to cover every piece.
Bake covered with foil or glass cover in oven for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour until chicken is cooked through. Remove foil or cover and place cheese on top of each chicken breast. Close oven and cook another 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve hot.
For our fellowship meal, I boiled up some chicken breasts, cut them into round slices and poured the salsa verde in layers over the chicken in the crock pot. I then turned on the crock pot to low and cooked until ready to serve. (unfortunately, I forgot the cheese in this picture. )
Approximately 8 cups tomatillos, husk removed and washed
1 1/2 -2 cups chopped onions
2-4 hot peppers of choice, seeded and chopped
Approximately 1 cup chopped cilantro
Garlic cloves, I use about 6-8
1 Tbs. sugar, (optional)
1/2 cup lemon juice, (or use 1 cup and omit the lime juice)
1/2 cup lime juice, (or use 1 cup and omit the lemon juice)
2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup red peppers, mainly for color especially if you use a green hot pepper
I place all ingredients in the blender and blend until chunky smooth. Then you have the option of cooking it down on the stove for a few hours until much of the liquid evaporates, or go ahead and place into clean, sterilized hot jars for canning. The result of not cooking down is that the salsa verde will have a bit more liquid to it. If you do cook it down, it will also have a bit more of a potency to it as there is less liquid and the flavors will be more pronounced. Especially the peppers. I prefer to cook it down, however, if time does not allow, you will not have wasted your time in the above prep and can still can it. I did it without cooking it down two years in a row and it was just fine, just had a bit more liquid from the juicy tomatillos.
Be sure to leave a 1/2 inch at the top of the sterilized hot jar when filling. (I always add an additional 1/2 tsp. per pint of salt after filling the jars.) Wipe clean the rim and place the heated tops on the jars and the ring. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for approximately 20 minutes.
Keep in mind that if you buy the salsa verde in a store, my experience is that they usually are much spicier than the home made.
If you have leftovers, get some tortilla shells, roll up the salsa verde chicken in them and place them in a baking dish smothered with the leftover sauce (omitting some of the liquid) and bake until heated through. Top with cheese, a little shredded lettuce, sour cream and serve. Makes a nice lunch the next day.