Salvadorian Chicken Patties and Tomatillo Salsa

by Linda Capeloto Sendowski on May 31, 2012

tomatillo salsa and tortitas de pollo 085-3

Since spring is a wakeup call for me to reevaluate my physical fitness and yes the ugly D diet word comes into play I want to cook some lighter dishes.  So far I have lost 17 pounds but still have quite a ways to go.  I simply want my clothes to fit better and feel lighter on my feet.  Every pound I lose, I feel more spunky and energized.  I want to go slowly since I love food and like to taste everything and am only willing to cut back a little at a time.  For me that means cutting back on portions and making wise choices.  So here I go with more fish and chicken for main courses, cut back on dessert, and step up my gym schedule.

Coincidentally, Lucy, my assistant, was telling me how her son’s mother-in-law (la consuegra) makes these wonderful little chicken patties or Tortitas de Pollo and Salsita de Tomatillo or Tomatillo (they look like green tomatoes wrapped in a husk) Salsa.  The salsa is practically calorie free and the chicken is pan fried chicken breast patties with no breading.  These dishes sounded like fewer calories to me, so I prevailed on Lucy to show me how and we made a plan.

I picked up the ingredients at the store and we had some fun making the Tortitas and salsa and one other dish which I will share in my next post.

Yield 20 to 24 patties

Serving size 3 to 6 patties per person

2 pounds ground chicken breast

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1/ 2 large onion, finely chopped

3/ 4 cup cilantro; finely chopped

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon New Mexico chili powder

2 eggs

1/ 2 cup panko (bread crumbs)

Safflower oil

Place ground chicken in a large bowl.  Add in, red bell pepper, onion, cilantro, salt, cumin, and chili powder.  Add in eggs and panko.  Lightly mix the chicken and vegetables together with your hands.

Heat a large sauté pan.  Add safflower oil to about 1/ 4 inch deep.  Maintain pan with oil on medium high heat.  Form thin patties while pan is heating, about 2 inches in diameter.  Slip patties into hot oil and fry, turning only once.  Patties should be golden brown on both sides.  Drain patties on a paper towel covered dish.  You may find it easier to wet your hands slightly to form patties since ground chicken is sticky.

Green Tomatillo Salsa:

Yield: approximately 2 to 3 cups

12 tomatillos, peeled

2 Serrano Chilies (these are quite hot)

2 small garlic peeled garlic cloves

1/ 2 cup fresh cilantro sprigs

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

Place tomatillos, chilies, and garlic in a medium saucepan.  Cover vegetables with water and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Boil about 3 minutes and drain vegetables.  Reserve cooking water.

Place boiled chilies, garlic, and tomatillos in the bowl of food processor.  Pulse until ingredients are the desired level of chunkiness or if you like, until a smooth puree.  You may need to add a little of the cooking liquid to achieve the right texture.  Add cilantro sprigs and chop a moment more to incorporate cilantro.  The reason for adding the cilantro at the end is so that it stays in little bits of contrasting green.  Season salsa with salt.

This salsa is quite bold, maybe even a little hot but it is so delicious with the Tortitas and any other South of the boarder dish.  Salsa keeps refrigerated for a few days.





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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Greek Girl from Queens June 1, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Mmmm….you’ve just sorted out my Friday night dinner dilemma, Linda. I have chicken and all the rest of the ingredients in my cupboard, but up until just now and reading your delicious post did I consider the option of cooking up a batch of these beauties. Thanks for that – I can’t wait to try this recipe. Have a lovely weekend! – June

Norma June 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM

Hi Linda,

I made this recipe tonight and it was delicious. I substituted regular chili powder for the New Mexico chili powder and jalapenos for the Serrano peppers.

My only problem was I didn’t make the patties thin enough, and some were undercooked. Your instructions do say thin patties, and I will correct this the next time. Meanwhile, I simply put the undercooked patties in the microwave.

I have never had the tomatillo salsa before, and have quite a bit left. What other dishes would it be good for?

Thanks for sharing this healthy dish with us.


Linda Capeloto Sendowski
Twitter: theborekadiary
June 6, 2012 at 10:44 PM

Hi Norma, Tomatillo salsa is great on any kind of grilled meat or fish, a topping for omelettes, fat free salad dressing, in tacos, anywhere you would use a salsa go green! How about dipping sauce for crudites?

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