This Green Enchilada Sauce Recipe is authentic and tasty, made with roasted chiles and tomatillos for extra flavor. It’s so tasty that you don’t need to use it only for enchiladas. Use it as a sauce on chalupas, burritos, chimichangas and tostadas. Even dipping with chips!
Making your own Green Enchilada Sauce from this recipe is quick and easy with so much added flavor by roasting the chiles first. Use it right away for incredible enchiladas or preserve it in the freezer or in shelf stable jars.
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I recently made Green Chicken Enchiladas. I used some purchased green enchilada sauce but I wanted to try to develop a recipe myself instead. It’s always better when it’s homemade!
Identifying Chile Peppers
The primary pepper in this green enchilada sauce is the Poblano Chile. It’s the large pepper shown in the image above and is about the size of a typical green bell pepper. It isn’t hugely spicy on the spice scale so any heat to your sauce will be added with the jalapeño.
To begin this Green Enchilada Sauce Recipe, you will roast your poblanos. I cut them in half and placed them on a sheet pan with parchment paper with skin side up. You can see the difference in size in the image above, with all the Poblanos being in front and the Jalapeños there in the back.
I’m not a fan of very spicy food so I used only two jalapeño peppers and I removed all of the seeds and membranes, which is where you’ll find most of that heat. This green enchilada sauce recipe is more about the flavor and not about the spicy heat.
Place your chiles in a zipper bag and set aside to cool. The steam produced by the peppers inside the bag will help in allowing you to peel them.
Once the roasted peppers are cooled about 10 minutes, you can remove the skin which will now look like a thin plastic film. It’s not really plastic, of course. You peel that off and discard.
If you prefer more spice, try using a different pepper until you get the taste you like. Anaheims are popular without a tremendous amount of heat. For more heat, serranos and, of course, habaneros are popular. Chipotle and ghost peppers are showing up a lot. Ghost peppers, wow! I don’t even want to think about it.
Green Chile Verde Sauce
My mom has taught me to appreciate the taste of the sauce rather than it having so much heat that all you feel is the heat, but I know people have different levels of pepper heat resistance. Mine is just really low. ha!
You can call this sauce many different names depending on your region. Green sauce, green chile sauce, green chili sauce, verde sauce, chiles verdes sauce. Verde simply means green so, no matter what you call it, you’ll be on the right track here.
What are Tomatillos?
Tomatillos, found in this green enchilada sauce recipe, are small fruits that are covered with a papery husk. That may sound strange at first, but hey, corn is also in a husk and there’s no problem there, right?! Once you peel off the husk, clean off the sticky residue from the fruit before you use it in your recipes. It looks just like a baby green tomato, but it’s not really a tomato.
A tomatillo, just like a tomato, can be eaten raw, chopped in a salad. You can roast them too. Be aware that it will pretty much disintegrate when you roast them so don’t try it on a cookie sheet without raised sides. They could burst and run over into your oven. I didn’t roast them for this recipe, but you could. Just be very careful not to make a mess when you’re transferring from sheet pan to the stock pot.
The tomatillo is a little tart, but not spicy like a pepper. It’s kind of a citrus-y sort of tart. Cooking it gives it a more mellow taste and roasting will bring out the sweet tones through caramelization.
Canning for Shelf Stability
For this recipe, I didn’t preserve these jars of green enchilada sauce, but you can, if you like. I ended up with about one quart total and I just separated them into three containers and put them in the freezer. If you want to can them, be sure to use a pressure canner and can them at 10 pounds of pressure for 55 minutes, or according to your manufacturer’s instructions.
Green Enchilada Sauce with Roasted Chiles and Tomatillos
- Large Sheet Pan
- Parchment Paper
- Stock Pot
- Immersion Blender or Standing Blender
- Cooking Spray
- 2 pounds Poblano Peppers about 7 or 8
- 2 Jalapeño
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 pound Tomatillo about 8 or 9
- 1 large Onion chopped
- 10 Garlic Cloves minced
- 3 cups Water
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- Juice of One Lime
- 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Wash and dry all peppers. Cut in half lengthwise. Remove stems, seeds and membranes.
- Place parchment paper on large sheet pan and spray with cooking spray.
- Place peppers with skin side up and place in preheated oven. Cook for 30 to 40 minutes until it looks like the skin is charred.
- Remove from oven, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap for 10 minutes. Let them cool a little bit more if they're still too warm to the touch.
- Carefully remove the thin plastic-y looking skin and chop the peppers.
- Remove husks from tomatillos and wash to remove the sticky residue. Dry then chop.
- In a stock pot, over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, garlic, chopped peppers and chopped tomatillo.
- Cook until onions are a little transparent and fragrant, about 10 minutes.
- Add water, cumin and salt. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes, until tomatillos are completely soft.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Add lime juice and chopped cilantro. Stir well.
- Using an immersion blender, blend well. If using a standing blender, blend about one or two cups at a time. Makes about 1 quart.
- If you would like to can (preserve) for shelf stability, use a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure for 55 minutes, or according to manufacturer's instructions.
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