Karl’s Chili Verde Sauce

Tomatillos are not an ingredient that I use very often. These hard green relatives of tomatoes may be eaten raw, but they are a key ingredient to salsa verde. This Sunday, I decided that I would try making the Mexican restaurant staple, chili verde.  This dish is most commonly made with pork and this is simply called “chili verde.” However, if you use the same sauce with beef, chicken, or as a vegetarian dish.

Karl’s Chili Verde Sauce


1 lb. tomatillos, husks removes and rinsed
5 whole cloves of garlic
2 Tbs. lard or bacon grease, separate uses (corn oil for Vegan)
1 Jalapeño chile
2 Anaheim chile
1 Poblano chile

1 bunch cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped, stems kept separately

1 cup yellow onions, diced
½ tsp. kosher salt
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. Mexican oregano
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 lime, juice and zest


1. Cut the tomatillos in half and toss them with the lard and whole garlic cloves.

Tip: Remove the outer husks and wash the sticky film and any dirt off of the tomatillos. Trim away the stem core and any soft spots.

Note: Tomatillos should be light to dark green and firm all over.

2. Spread the tomatillos and garlic on a baking sheet and add the rinsed chilies.

Tip: Lining the pan with aluminum foil helps with clean up.

3. Broil the vegetables for 15-20 minutes until the tomatillos are soft and spotted, the garlic is golden and the chilies are blackened.

Tip: Turn or stir the vegetables occasionally, so that the sear evenly.

Note: You may need to remove some of the vegetables sooner than others.

4. Put the chilies into a plastic bag, while they are still hot.

Tip: The steam loosens the skins and makes them easier to peel.

5. When the vegetables have cooled, peel and deseed the chilies.

Tip: Discard the hard caps of the chilies.

6. Coarsely chop the tomatillos, garlic, and chilies.

7. Put the cooked vegetables in a standing blender and add the cilantro stems.

8. Pulse the blender several times to produce a coarse paste.

Tip: You do not want it to be paste to be completely smooth, but you do not want big chunks either.

9. Sauté the onions with the rest of the salt until soft, about five minutes.

10. Pull the onions to the sides of the pot and add the garlic and tomato paste.

11. Cook for two minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and the tomato paste  has started to darken.

12. Stir in the tomatillo mixture, the Mexican oregano, and the black pepper.

13. Simmer, stirring, for two minutes to meld.

Tip: If the sauce seems too dry you may add some beer, water or chicken broth.

Note: At this point, you may add any meat or vegetable you wish and cook it in the sauce until fully cooked.

14. Stir in most of the cilantro leaves and the lime juice and zest.

Tip: Reserve some of the cilantro leaves as garnish.

15. You may pour the chili verde sauce over burritos, tamales, or simply use it as a dip for corn chips.

1 Comment

Filed under Sauces and Spices, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

One response to “Karl’s Chili Verde Sauce

  1. Pingback: Karl’s Chili Verde | Jabberwocky Stew

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