Roasted Salsa Verde for Canning

The fact that October is the busiest time of year for me in no way prevents me from taking on last minute, totally unnecessary personal projects… because sometimes I’m just dumb like that.

Recently – in the middle of stressing out about our to-do list – a neighbour was selling fresh tomatillos, straight from his garden. As is usually the case, we ended up “If-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie”-ing all the way from “well, we could buy a lb or so and put on a small batch of salsa” to “let’s buy 10 lbs and just make a batch for canning”, adding a trip to the farmer’s market, etc.

We had missed peak corn season, so my roasted corn and tomatillo salsa wasn’t looking like the best option.. so I developed a whole new recipe for it. This recipe was especially for my husband, who loves deep, dark, roasted / charred flavours. This is far more smokey than your average salsa verde, and it was perfect for him. Says he:

“I love the smokey pepper taste, the flavor is incredible. If I’m not careful I could end up having this as a meal. The thick, chunky texture helps it stay on a chip, and makes it easier to mix in with something like sour cream.”

So, if smokiness is your thing.. you should absolutely give this a try. Enjoy!

Roasted Salsa Verde for Canning
Makes about 14 pints

4 large red onions
5 lbs poblano peppers
12 green bell peppers
12-15 jalapeno peppers
10 lbs tomatillos
10 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
4 cups vinegar
3/4 lime juice (freshly squeezed, ideally!)
Zest of 3 limes
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp salt
1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)

Heat your grill – I like to use charcoal for this, but propane is fine also.

While grill is heating, prepare your vegetables to roast:

– Slice onions into 1/2″ thick slices

– Slice poblano and bell peppers into large flat pieces, Cut jalapenos in half.*

Brush peppers with olive oil, then grill everything until as “done” as you would like – personally, I like some dark grill marks for this, but not an overall char. If you have wood chips to smoke/grill with, use them – we used applewood chips. Remove items as they are ready – the peppers will cook the fastest. Allow everything to cool.

Turn your (oven) broiler up to high.

Prepare a couple cookie sheets with foil or parchment paper. Remove husks from tomatillos, wash well and remove any that don’t look fresh/good. Slice each in half, arrange in a single layer on baking sheets, toss garlic cloves in amongst the tomatillos. Roast under the broiler until as charred as you would like. Pour off excess juices, allow to cool, then puree in a blender or food processor.

Once everything is cool, chop up the peppers and onion (I use a food processor for this). Add all roasted vegetables to a large pot, along with tomatilloes, vinegar, lime juice & zest, sugar, and salt, stir well.

Heat to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid reduces a bit, and mixture reaches a consistency you like. Stir in the cilantro, if using, and cook for one more minute.

Ladle into hot, sterilized pint sized canning jars. Affix sterilized lids and rims, and process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. (Add 5 minutes for altitudes above 1,000 feet; add 10 minutes for altitudes over 6,000 feet.) Allow to cool overnight.

Check all lids for a proper seal: they should have sucked down into a vacuum seal as the jars cooled. Store properly sealed jars for later use; refrigerate any that did not seal for use in the coming weeks.

* For a more mild salsa, remove ribs and seeds.

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