Dr. Ayres cooked this recipe for this year’s Poor Seminarian’s Cook-off. She learned this recipe while studying Spanish last summer in Oaxaca, Mexico. Her cooking teacher’s name was Lulu. Proportions are approximate, or to taste!
-2.5 lbs tomatillos, paper skins removed
-2-3 serrano peppers
-5-6 cloves garlic
-3 stems epazote, leaves only*
-1-2 c. water or broth
-salt to taste
-crumbly queso fresco
-fresh onion, slices very thin
optional other toppings: fried egg, pulled chicken, mexican chorizo
*epazote is a mexican herb with a very strong flavor. Use only the leaves, here, and not more than the leaves of three stems. Find it at Plaza Fiesta or Buford Highway Farmers Market. In a pinch, substitute lots of cilantro.
-Place tomatillos and serrano peppers into large pot, cover with water, bring to boil
-Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until tomatillos are very soft inside their skins.
-In blender, puree tomatillos, peppers to taste (I start with one and add from there), garlic cloves, and epazote.
-Return to pot and add water until thin (but not too thin!). Add more salt if needed.
-Simmer for another 5 minutes or so, being careful not to cook it down too much.
-About the tortillas: There is no substitute for pan-frying fresh corn tortillas (tear into 3-inch pieces before frying until just barely crisp—about one minute—in an inch of oil). When participating in cook-off and avoiding grease fires, I use tostadas, broken into 3-inch pieces.
-Place fried tortillas or tostadas in sauce on stove, stir a couple of times. Turn off heat. Let sit in sauce for five minutes.
-Serve immediately, topped with crumbled quest fresco, onions, cilantro and crema, and any other toppings you like. With eggs, this is the best breakfast ever invented.
The sauce and tortillas, on their own, are vegan and gluten-free. If you are gluten-intolerant, do be careful when purchasing corn tortillas – some are not gluten-free!