Green Chile Enchilada Sauce


Green Chili Enchilada Sauce

This past weekend I did three of my favorite things: capture sweet, sweet love in an abundance of frames; laugh, chat, and toast with family; and stock the freezer with garden-grown green chili enchilada sauce goodness. (Go on. Jump to the recipe if you must.) 

Can I get a, ‘Yeah Baby’?

Because for me, photographing weddings is like candy. Sipping gimlets as the sun sets with Gran and Gramps is something I love. Catching up with aunts and uncles in from out of town fills my heart with joy. (Aunt Barb and Uncle Richard, it was so great to see you again!) Meeting amazing cousins makes me smile. (Jennifer, you’re the best!) And knowing there’s flavorful sauce in the freezer puts my heart at ease.

roasted tomatillos

When we bought our house, one of the things I was most excited about was the freezer. It was included in the purchase agreement. The thing could have held a full cow – not that we ever got around buying one. Which is a good thing, because about two months ago the freezer died. My grand plans to load it with sauce over the summer faded into a jigsaw puzzle of meats and frozen fruit in the tiny freezer attached to our fridge.

We saved most things. The expensive things. The meat and blueberries from our garden. But we lost a little too. A bag of frozen peas. A handful of pomegranate seeds. A box of mini-frozen tacos.

blackened peppers

steaming blackened peppers

And then one day Garrett found a freezer on Craigslist – a 1950s beast so wide we had to take the door off to get it in the house.

Game on.

I’ll be making another batch of enchilada sauce. There are still more peppers to use! We’ll be adding some bolognaise to the mix. And pesto. We’ll definitely be making some pesto. The basil is going crazy in the garden.

If anyone has a good idea for Thai basil, please send it my way. And sage. And oregano. We have an overabundance.

Back to the green chili enchilada sauce. Guys, it’s good. It’s the kind of comfort food warmth that oozes summer and fireside cuddling all at once. How that’s even possible, I don’t know. But it happens. I have proof in my freezer.

blender with peppers and tomatillos

If you spend some time looking at green chili sauce recipes, you’ll find a wide variety of combinations. All include some sort of peppers. Most include tomatillos and chicken stock. What follows is our favorite combination.

Skipping the chicken stock and using only fresh peppers delivered a brighter flavor. The peppers are based in large part on what’s in our garden. You could easily replace the Anaheims and Cajun Belles with poblanos, though this will deliver a little less heat. You may want to skip the hot banana pepper. (I definitely seeded the hot bananas because they are hot, hot, HOT!)

An abundance of tomatillos gave the sauce a slight tang that I love. And, sautéed onions brought a level of savory-sweet that made it addictingly good.

Green Chile Enchilada Sauce

Makes 64-ounces

2 pounds tomatillos, husked, stemmed, and halved
4 Anaheim peppers
5 Cajun Belle peppers
5 jalapenos
2 hot banana peppers
3 TBS olive oil
1 TBS salt
2 white onions, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin

Turn broil on high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange tomatillos in an even layer. Broil on high until skin begins to blister and turn black.

Transfer broiled tomatillos to a blender, including any juices that have accumulated on the baking sheet.

Evenly arrange peppers on baking sheet. Broil on high until skin is blackened, rotating as skin begins to blister. Remove from oven and place in a plastic bag, twisting top to seal in steam.

Allow peppers to steam for 5 – 10 minutes. Open bag and let sit until cool enough to handle. Peel skin from peppers. Remove stems. Discard as many seeds as you would like. Place peppers in blender.

While tomatillos and peppers are cooking, heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Sauté onion until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add onion-garlic mixture to blender. Add cumin to blender.

Blend until smooth, roughly 1 minute. Use immediately or allow to cool before transferring evenly between two freezer safe containers. (I like to use quart Ziploc bags.)


About Mikaela Cowles

I’m a food-gobbling, book-reading, aspiring photog. Born and raised in Seattle, I love dancing in the rain, bouquets of fresh basil and green grass between my toes. I like how kneading butter into flour makes my fingers soft. I’m passionate about all things sweet potato. I prefer my coffee black, my scotch on the rocks and my steak bloody. I hunt, when I have time; play basketball; and hike. I’ve been known to laugh so hard I hyperventilate. And, I’m the owner of Making Language Count, a boutique freelance writing business.

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