the appetizer:

Rosa's New Mexican Table by Roberto Santibañez includes favorite recipes from the restaurant's menu like Soupy Black Beans, Poblanos Stuffed with Spinach and Goat Cheese (and Ranchera Sauce), and Slow-Braised Boneless Short Ribs with Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Sauce.

Cookbook Profile

Roasted Tomatillo-Chipotle Sauce

Salsa de Tomatillo y Chipotle

Makes 3 cups


The tart tomatillos, smoky chipotles, and sweet piloncillo (a type of raw sugar; see page 16 of the book) meld to create an exquisitely balanced sauce with delightful hints of cumin and oregano. It can be served as a sauce, as we do with the short ribs, or it can be diluted and used to braise meats, poultry, or game.

Drain the chiles well and put them in a blender jar. Add the garlic, cloves, oregano, salt, cumin, and 1/2 cup of the water and blend until smooth.

Heat the oil in a medium heavy saucepan over medium heat. Pour in the chile mixture, then rinse out the blender with the remaining 1/4 cup water and add that to the pan (set the blender jar aside). Bring the sauce to a boil, stirring to incorporate the oil. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering.

Blend the tomatillos, with their juices, until smooth (see Note). Pour into the sauce and stir in the piloncillo. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is shiny and little dots of fat rise to the surface, about 30 minutes. Add water a small amount at a time if the sauce becomes too thick before turning shiny. The sauce can be prepared up to 2 days in advance and refrigerated. Bring to a simmer, adding water as necessary to restore it to the right consistency, before using.

NOTE: When blending tomatillos for any stewing sauce like this, "blend until smooth" means the tomatillos are pureed but you still should be able to see the little tomatillo seeds. If you blend more—so that the seeds are broken up—the sauce will become pasty or cloudy and will take on an unpleasant consistency.


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This page created June 2007