How to Cook Tomatillos for Chili Verde


Tomatillos are a primary ingredient in spicy chili verde, a slow-cooked stew that traditionally contains broth, pork, chili peppers, onion, garlic and seasonings such garlic, cumin and oregano. A staple in traditional Mexican cooking, tomatillos, also known as Mexican green tomato or jamberries, provide a sweet, tangy flavor that balances the heat of hot chili peppers. Although you can add husked, uncooked tomatillos to chili verde, you can saute the little vegetables first to add hint of smokiness, or roast them to concentrate and intensify the flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Heavy skillet
  • Cooking oil

Prepare Tomatillos for Cooking

  • Rinse the tomatillos under cool running water.

  • Peel off the papery outer covering and let the water wash away the sticky coating.

  • Drain the husked tomatillos on a layer of paper towels, then cook as desired.

Sauteeing Tangy Tomatillos

  • Cover the bottom of a skillet with a small amount of cooking oil, then place the skillet over medium heat.

  • Place the tomatillos in the hot skillet and cook the tomatillos for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft and beginning to turn black in spots.

  • Remove the skillet from the heat. Let the tomatillos cool slightly, then stir the whole tomatillos into chili verde. (Note: Yes, they are small. They shrink become smaller when cooked.)

Roasting for Intense Flavor

  • Preheat the oven to broil. Coat a broiler or heavy, ovenproof skillet lightly with cooking oil.

  • Arrange the husked tomatillos in the pan, then place the pan on a rack about 4 inches below the broiler. Cook the tomatillos for about 5 minutes, or until they turn black around the edges. Flip each tomatillo with a spatula, then cook the other side until it chars.

  • Remove the pan from the oven. Allow the tomatillos to cool slightly before adding them whole to the chili verde.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place fresh, unhusked tomatillos in a paper bag and store them in your refrigerator's crisper drawers. They will keep for up to a month.

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