Here’s a true confession: Sometimes I really miss the ‘80s.
Okay. Maybe I don’t miss the Crystal Carrington hair, the Donna Mills eye shadow, or the chandelier earrings that looked like they should hang over Trump’s dining table. (What are they made of? Foil?? And look! A matching necklace! I could be Queen of QVC!)
But I did have a great time as an anchor and reporter in Dallas in the ’80’s, and do miss the group of girlfriends who joined me after the 5 o’clock news as we ate our way around the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex.
Of all the places we haunted, I think our favorite was Javier’s. Very upscale for Mexican restaurants of that time, it was decidedly old school and elegant in a Mexico City kind of way. There, you wouldn’t find tacos or quesadillas …but rich moles, luscious grilled steaks stuffed with roasted chilies and cheese, and pulled pork that was cooked in a seasoned sauce for so long that it didn’t just melt in your mouth, it melted on your fork on it’s way there.
But Javier knew, whenever we walked in, that more than the meats or moles, all we really craved was a bucket (or two) of chips and big bowl (or 2) their warm tomatillo sauce. There was no day at work, no traffic so bad or no break-up so fierce, that this sweet yet spicy sauce wouldn’t cure it. It was our Magic Green Elixir.
When I left Dallas for ABC News in New York in 1991, Javier gave me the recipe. After reducing down his instructions–which called for 30 pounds of tomatillos!–I attempted, over and over, to get it right. But it was never quite the same and I gave up.
Years later, when I was back at ABC doing Good Morning America, Javier sent a batch to N.Y. for my birthday and I got on a tangent again, trying to re-capture that taste.
It’s funny, but after many, many, many more failed attempts, only after I started cooking skinny did I finally make the right changes to the recipe so that it now captures the same taste, textures and memories of the original but is easier to make.
To my gaggle of Texas girls, Andrea, Mary Anne, Cindy, Sara, Della and Ellen (and Javier) I send ya’ll a big (but skinny) Ole’ !
MAGIC GREEN ELIXIR (Roasted Tomatillo Sauce ala Javier’s)
2 1/2 pounds of tomatillos, whole, outer skin removed
1 t. Better Than Bouillon chicken broth paste
1 t Worcestershire Sauce
1 t minced garlic
3 Serrano peppers, minced
½ small yellow or white onion, chopped fine
½ bunch of cilantro (a good handful) chopped fine
1 t sugar (I know, I rarely ever use white sugar, but this dish must have it)
Preheat oven to 425 and spray your Pyrex dish with cooking spray.
Peel the papery skin off the tomatillos, wash, and toss them, WHOLE, into the dish.
Add the chicken paste, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, minced Serranos, onion, cilantro and sugar. I don’t even stir it but you can if you like.
(I know you don’t think this will work without added liquid or chopping the tomatillos but, trust me, it will.)
Cover tightly with foil.
After an hour and 20 minutes, the tomatillos will have melted, releasing all of their juices. Loosen the foil so the steam will escape, stir a bit, and turn off the heat but let them rest in the oven for another 30 minutes or so.
Serve on fish, tacos, omelets, or just eat with a few (not many!) chips…