When I was in college I found this awesome recipe for chicken enchiladas. While the enchiladas turned out really well, all in all it took me about five time consuming hours to make them. This entailed roasting a whole chicken from start to finish, preparing the sauce from scratch, assembling the dish and then baking. It’s not that I mind spending a few hours cooking a dish, or even all day if that’s what it takes and I have the time on my hands. It’s just that between work, school, family and social life or whatever other hobbies we choose to spend out time doing, it’s not always a possibility. Thus, it’s important for me to find shortcuts in cooking that can ease the accessibility of a recipe that might otherwise take a million years.
For instance, a whole chicken pre-roasted on a lazy sunday can last up to a week in the fridge. I like to roast the chicken and then shred it, the pieces of which can be used in home-cooked meals for the next few days. Or as another example, the roasted tomatillo salsa with which I topped my chicken enchiladas in college.
For those who are unfamiliar with a tomatillo, its a green fruit bearing a similar resemblance to a tomato that comes wrapped in a husk. Tomatillos are best eaten when cooked and have a sweet tangy flavor that can be found in many traditional Mexican staple dishes. My tomatillo salsa recipe is a simple, easy way to make a sauce that goes well with any number of latin-themed dishes. You can top it on tacos, quesadillas, burritos, or enchiladas, use it as a salad dressing in a taco salad, or even serve as an appetizer with a bag of tortilla chips. In my version I add avocado, which gives it a creamy consistency in between a salsa and guacamole.
Roasted Tomatillo Avocado Salsa
- 5 or 6 healthy looking tomatillos, husks peeled and washed
- Half an onion chopped into quarters (in my pictures I used a red onion, causing my salsa to take on an almost pink color. I would recommend using a white or yellow onion to prevent this discoloration)
- One jalapeno, sliced in half length-wise, and then halved again (for spicier salsa, keep the seeds in tact. For mild, remove seeds and white inner pith)
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 avocado, peel and seed removed
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Poke a few holes in each tomatillo with a fork. Assemble the first four ingredients onto a baking sheet and toss into oven for at least half an hour, or until the juices begin to seep from the tomatillos and all ingredients are thoroughly caramelized and softened (without being burned). Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add all ingredients to a blender, including raw avocado, olive oil, salt and pepper and pulse until smooth (its okay if there are a few chunks).
So, in conclusion what I’m really trying to say here is that if you have a tendency to be incredibly lazy at times like me, then you’ll come to love and appreciate all the little shortcuts we can take in the kitchen during those precious moments when we are actually feeling a bit inspired. I’ve created a new category on my blog called “short cuts” where you can find this recipe as well as other similar posts in the future to help make cooking just that much more convenient for all of us busy folk.