Roasted Salsa Verde

August 9, 2011

I love salsa verde. Throw it into a pot with a pork shoulder and you’ve got chili verde, ready for stuffing peppers or enchiladas. Mix it with crème fraîche and use it as a sauce for grilled fish. Or just eat it in a warm tortilla with cheese and a scrambled egg, like I do. It’s the breakfast of champions, the real deal.

I make enough to can, and this year I’m even growing my own tomatillos (a lovely purple heirloom variety from Territorial). I usually can it in pints, but this is too much to eat before it goes off, so this year I did half pints. Half pints are just so much more manageable, aren’t they?

My roasted salsa verde is pretty special. If you want to can your own, you can use my recipe, but be warned: mine is not from the NCHFP site or the Blue Book. Mine uses way less onion than the NCHFP recipe, but it uses more tomatillos. It has the same amount of lime juice, so I figure it all comes out in the wash. And this handy (peer-reviewed, published) study found that plain tomatillos, after canning, have a pH below 4.1, which is acidic enough to kill Botulism. That study also tested canned tomatillos with onions and with peppers, and they both had a pH below 4.2, which is the cutoff. Anecdotally, I’ve been making it this way for years and haven’t had any illnesses.

Another warning: if you leave a comment saying how unsafe my recipe is, I will tear you a new one in front of everybody.

So about that recipe:

Roasted Salsa Verde

(Makes about ten half pints)
8 cups clean, husked, quartered tomatillos
4 Anaheim chilis
2 small onions (about 2 cups coarsely chopped)
6 cloves garlic
juice and zest from two limes, or one cup bottled juice (no, I don’t think it matters)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, crushed


Roast the tomatillos, chiles, onions and garlic at 375 for 30 minutes or so (or until they’re browned at the edges and soft). It’s easiest if you do the chiles in a separate pan so you can cover them and let them sit when they’re done. Wait 15 or so minutes and this will help the skins just slip right off, as pictured below. I think it probably goes without saying that you don’t want the seeds or the stems, but there’s always some wiseass who pulls a Simon Says on me.

Chiles, before

Chiles, after

Dump the roasted vegetables and everything else into a large bowl or pot (try to mop out the good browned juices for flavor – you can use the squeezed-out limes for this purpose) and whizz it up with an immersion blender. Ladle into clean half-pint jars, dip a butter knife in to remove air bubbles and wipe the rims with a damp paper towel. Affix the lids and bands and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Technically, this is the processing time for pints, so it might seem a bit long for ha’pints; since everything has already been cooked, it won’t hurt a bit to be in there a few minutes longer. Test the seals the next day, and refrigerate any that don’t seal (plan on eating any unsealed jars within a week or two).

You’ll likely notice that the salsa has firmed up a bit. This is because tomatillos are naturally high in pectin. You can dilute it with a little water when you go to use it, if it bothers you. It doesn’t affect the flavor, though, so don’t worry your pretty little head. Just worry about finding enough ways to enjoy eating the salsa (or just eat it for breakfast).

16 Responses to Roasted Salsa Verde

  1. August 9, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    I canned a pumpkin butter last year that was supposed to kill me but I am still here commenting and cooking.

  2. Monica
    August 9, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    LOVE your disclaimer !!!!! I’m also a “rule breaker” when it comes to canning- I learned from my mother in law and she had been canning since the 50s……. I’ve seen her scrape moldy parrafin off strawberry jam and eat it anyway, so MORE POWER TO YOU !!!! I think your recipe looks incredibly easy and delicious and if I get my hands on some tomatillos…..I will be giving this a shot !!

  3. August 10, 2011 at 9:25 am

    Love the recipe and the writing. Thank you so much for sharing! I, too, can’t wait to track down some tomatillos.

  4. August 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I don’t know nearly enough about canning to accuse you of anything. Do what you’re doing. Looks good to me. Since I’m not a canner, I may have to just scale this down so I can make some for a one-time use and stew some chicken in it.

  5. August 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    i can’t think of a better product to can…jar…put up….eat.

  6. Samantha
    August 10, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    You rock! I love your response to “Connie”. What a snob.

  7. Jessica t
    August 12, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Just made this. I had no choice. Kristy’s been begging. It was really no problem though. Super easy. It took little to no time and the results are delicious. I’m thinking we will zip right through these little jars. Thank you!

  8. lo
    August 15, 2011 at 7:51 am

    OMG, how dangerous! ;)

    We’ve been making roasted tomatillo salsas and sauces for years. It’s one of the first things I ever canned. And you betcha we’ll be making it again this year.

    BTW, I just canned up a batch of the pickled red onions this past weekend… and I’m really looking forward to busting open a jar to sample it :)

  9. August 15, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    If only I could get my hands on tomatillos. This looks and sounds divine.

  10. August 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I just bought 10 pounds of the most beautiful tomatillos from the Hollywood Farmers Market for $1.50 per pound. Cheaper than in the stores and far better looking! This salsa verde and a tomatillo pickle will be my weekend projects.

  11. Kristina Boyce
    August 21, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    I am adding this to my to do list that keeps piling up. I am looking forward to making this & canning this recipe. This will be great to add to my pantry and even add to gifts baskets that I will be handing out this Christmas and so forth.

  12. Lo B.
    August 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Oooh. Living on the edge. I like it. Plus it is freakin’ gorgeous on top of being delicious.

  13. August 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    For some reason, salsa verde never crosses my mind in the spectrum of shit to can. But your recipe might have swayed me. I love the tone of the entire thing, perfect way to get idiots to stop asking dumb questions.

  14. August 22, 2011 at 5:04 am

    Is that dried or fresh oregano? Recipe sounds yummy and my tomatillos are awesome this year!

  15. Peggy
    August 22, 2011 at 5:38 am

    I LOVE salsa verde! My favorite way to eat it is at breakfast with eggs, tortillas and some rice. I grew up in San Diego where Mexican food was a staple but I unfortunately now reside in an area where people don’t even know what I’m talking about.

    I’m new to canning but will definitely be giving this one a try! I love your blog and your attitude!

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  16. Frances
    August 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Heather, that is one really good recipe and the pictures really “make” it. But…I have a question. I have always made jalepino salsa and I need help. I make it with raw jalepinos, onion, cilantro, garlic and canned Hunts whole tomatoes. I put all that in processer. My question is: can I can this salsa and do I need to put in bath for any amount to time. I have not seen anything like this and just got a bunch of chili and don’t really want to freeze. HELP!!!