Pork Chops with Tomatillo and Cilantro Sauce

Tomatillos need a lot more respect, in my opinion. They are super-easy to grow here. Cousins of tomatoes, they are quite tangy, cook in minutes and are a wonderful partner with pork and chicken. If you haven’t used them before, here’s what you need to know: Peel off the papery husk and they will feel a little sticky. Just rinse them in water for a second and they feel and look like small green tomatoes. You can eat them raw, but most people find them too sour that way. Throw them on the grill, oven-roast them or cook them in a saucepan on the stove with just a splash of water — the flavor will stay tangy, but it really mellows from the cooking. (If you can’t find them at the farmers’ market they are easily found at Latin supermarkets all over Louisville.) This sauce is wonderful with corn chips, scrambled eggs, stirred into mashed avocados for a quick guacamole, served with sour cream on potatoes. You can also add some corn kernels to the salsa if you have an extra ear of corn in the kitchen.
By / Photography By E. S. Bruhmann | September 01, 2012


  1. Preheat broiler or grill. Place tomatillos, 4 whole garlic cloves and jalapeños on rimmed baking sheet. Broil until tender and vegetables are slightly charred, turning occasionally, about 7 minutes for garlic and 8 minutes for tomatillos and jalapeños. Transfer to plate and let stand until cool enough to handle.
  2. Stem and seed jalapeños. Place tomatillos, garlic, jalapeños, onion and cilantro in a food processor or blender. Purée until it’s a texture you like — leave it chunky or process until almost smooth. Season tomatillo salsa with salt and pepper. Salsa can be made up to a week ahead. Cover and chill. Return salsa to room temperature before serving.
  3. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Rub both sides of pork chops with remaining halved garlic clove. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper; brush with oil. Grill until just cooked through, about 5 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer chops to plate; let rest 10 minutes. Serve chops with salsa. 


  • 1 pound tomatillos (about 12), husked, rinsed
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled (1 of them cut in half for the pork chops)
  • 2 jalapeño peppers
  • 1 small white onion
  • 1 cup (lightly packed) chopped fresh cilantro (1 full bunch)
  • 6 (1½-inch-thick) pork rib chops (about 14 ounces each with bone)
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for brushing)
Build your own subscription bundle.
Pick 3 regions for $60