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Gardening is great Fun--Get our Chile and Tomatillo Seeds...Now on Sale

By Jane Butel  April 9, 2019

Growing your very own chiles is super fun.  And, when you once plant tomatillo seeds..you will have them  almost for Life!  This week we are placing our certified seeds on sale at 25% off.  Just plant them in full sun  in well drained soil.  They do not like too much water--just some.    The more you water, the milder the chiles will be and if you water too much, the roots rot and they will not be productive.  Just be sure the soil dries out at least one inch deep before watering again.

We still have a few spaces left in our weekend school at half price for the April 26-28 Session.   Our weekend schools feature traditional New Mexican food, which is very different than Tex-Mex and Mexican food. Our traditional dishes feature a great deal of chiles, are very full flavored and the influences date back before the Spanish for some of the dishes. 

In our classes, you will learn all about the history of the key ingredients as well as the specific history of most all the dishes.  For example, did you know that Sopaipillas were first made in Old Town, Albuquerque in front of the San Francisco de-Neri Church on a warm, balmy afternoon  in 1620.

Or, that Carne Adobado was learned from the Pueblo Indians after the Spanish brought hogs to New Mexico...come to class to learn the specific history!

Sign up soon for our very special week long class that got our school rated as the "Best in the US" by "Bon Appetit magazine".

Here is  my favorite tomatillo salsa recie, which just might be the simplest!  And a chipotle variation, which has a nice subtle smokiness--plua a favorite Lime Rice recipe. 


An old Mexican favorite that is good over almost any meat or tortilla dish.  Tomatillos, available in Mexican specialty shops, should always be used.  Don’t substitute unripe green tomatoes, because they lack the subtle, sweet taste of the tomatillos.

Yield:  About 2 cups

2 cups quartered,  fresh tomatillos
2/3 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno chile or Serrano chile, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1. If using fresh tomatillos, remove outer husk.  Quarter and place in one inch deep boiling water in a heavy pot.  Cover and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until color deepens and they are almost fork tender.  DO NOT OVERCOOK!

2. Process tomatillos in a blender or food processor until coarsely chopped.  Add remaining ingredients; process to combine.  Taste and if necessary, adjust seasonings.


(Roasted Tomatillo Salsa with Chipotle)


Tomatillos, a distant cousin of the tomato, are a favorite sauce ingredient and add a sweet, somewhat tart flavor to sauces and salsas. Personally, I always prefer them cooked over raw. Tomatillos can be either pan roasted or boiled. Originally this sauce was always prepared with boiled tomatillos. The addition of the pan roasting and the richness of chipotle chiles makes a much more elegant salsa, wonderful as a dipping salsa or as a sauce over fish, seafood, poultry and vegetables.

Yield: about 3 cups sauce

3 chipotle chiles, or 1 ½ teaspoons chipotle powder

Water, optional, only for reconstituting whole chipotle pods

1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar, optional

2 pounds fresh tomatillos

1 cup fresh onion or 1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro or Italian flat leaf parsley

1.  Place the chipotles in a quart liquid measuring cup. Add water to cover and vinegar, cover with cellophane wrap and process in a microwave oven for five minutes or until the skin slips on the flesh.

2. Slice the tomatillos in half and place cut side down in a heavy seasoned skillet and place over medium high heat. When the center ones have browned on the first side, about five minutes of roasting, turn them and cover and remove from heat.

3.After the tomatillos have steamed together and are very soft, about fie more minutes, place them in the blender jar along with the onion, chipotles and cilantro.  Deglaze the  pan you roasted the tomatillos in  by adding about 1/2 cup water and stirring to loosen the bits of tomatillo that clinged to the pan. Process until pureed, adding tomatillo pan liquid to make a thick sauce that will still slightly run. Taste and add salt if desired. Serve either warm or cool as desired.


This refreshing, simply prepared rice is oh-so good with most any Southwestern dish. Any leftovers make the basis for a cold rice salad just by adding your favorite vegetables and meats, such as Fajita Chicken.

Yield: 2 cups rice 

1 ½ cups water*

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 Tablespoon chicken boullion base, such as Better Than Boullion*

1 Tablespoon butter

1 cup long grain rice

¼ cup Tomatillo based Salsa Verde

1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

  1. Bring the water, lime juice, chicken base and butter to a boil. Then add the rice and stir and cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender and fluffy. When done, stir in the salsa and the cilantro and cover to fluff for a few minutes before serving or storing.

*If desired, you may use chicken stock instead of the water and bouillion.

Jane's Southwest Recipes and more great ideas for cooking with chiles.




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