Cook’s Recipe: Green Chile Crema

My love for green chiles is well documented. And while using them as a topping for everything from a cheeseburger to eggs Benedict is great, eventually you start looking for more creative ways to incorporate them. Enter, the crema – a term for a cream based sauce that is generally the consistency of thin yogurt. It usually involves steeping or cooking various flavors in a base of heavy cream.

In this case we’ll be using green chiles, which work fantastically in a crema because the cream and the heat from the chiles balance each other nicely. You’ll still get the heat from the peppers, but then immediately the refreshing cool of the cream.

Remember, dairy counterattacks Capsaicin really well because of the fat molecules. Add in a few more flavors to round things out and you’ve got the perfect green chile delivery system. It also acts as a nice ying and yang with a good barbeque sauce.

Making the sauce is easy and it is a very quick recipe that doesn’t really take more than 10 minutes, so don’t leave it alone on the stove. Also, having an immersion blender makes this whole process so much easier and cuts down on clean-up immensely.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
16 oz of heavy cream
1 cup green chiles diced (homemade ones preferably)
2 tomatillos diced and roasted*
2 jalapenos roasted and diced *
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tablespoon of sour cream
1 tsp of lime juice
Salt and pepper to taste

* About a 1/3 cup of prepared salsa verde can be substituted if you don’t have tomatillos and jalapenos.

Equipment

Medium sauce pan
Immersion or regular blender

Directions

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat the oil, then add the garlic and onion. Cook until the garlic becomes golden and the onions begin to turn translucent.
  2. Next add in the cream, chiles, tomatillos, and jalapenos. Slowly bring the heat up on the mixture, stirring constantly. Allow it to simmer gently for about 5 minutes.
  3. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the sour cream and lime juice. Stir to incorporate, and allow the heat from the crema to melt the sour cream. Finally, add the cilantro for a fresh bite. Using an immersion blender, smooth out the sauce right in the pan. This will eliminate the need for straining and give you the proper texture and thickness. If you don’t have an immersion blender, simply transfer the sauce to a normal blender and blend until smooth.

The sauce should be cooled down, then you can pour it over everything that you own (it’s that good). It can be stored for several days in advance and is best served at room temperature. I suggest investing in a squeeze bottle – no more than $1.50 – for easy delivery.