September 28, 2021

I went on vacation and took no photos of food. Oops.

This recipe makes a kind of stew, not too liquidy, and when served as a taco filling, you’ll want a slotted spoon. I also loved the way it tasted over Mexican rice and in that case, I longed for the delicious broth and used a ladle.

I selected frozen large shrimp (12-16 per pound), peeled and deveined and added them to the pot when they were still slightly frozen. Overcooked shrimp are unfortunate. Go for slightly undercooked and you’ll be right on the money by the time the dish is at the table.

Make ahead: Prep the poblanos, then dice and freeze them up to a month ahead. Make the sauce ahead and freeze it or refrigerate for no more than 2 days. Wilt the onions a few hours ahead.

Serves 8

4 medium to large poblano peppers

2 large white onions

8 tomatillos, husks removed

1 serrano chili pepper

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 lime, zest removed in swaths and juiced

1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

2 tablespoons neutral oil

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (see headnote)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro leaves and stems

Corn tortillas for serving

Avocado, Pickled red onion, radishes, slivered cabbage, hot sauce, and more limes for garnishing


Blister the poblanos over an open flame (grill or gas stove) or, halved and skin side up, under the broiler until the outer skin is blackened. Place them into a bowl and cover the bowl with a tea towel to steam the peppers for 30 minutes. Wearing gloves, remove the peel and then stem and seed the peppers remembering to remove the ribs, too. Chop into a 1/2-inch dice. Set aside.

Slice the white onions in half along the equator and remove the outer papery peel. Cut a slab about 1/2-inch thick and set aside. Slice the remaining onions into slim half-moons. Set aside.

Heat a comal or a large cast iron pan until water flicked across the hot surface dances. Toast, turning frequently, the slab of onion, the tomatillos, serrano, and the garlic cloves until blackened here and there. For a milder dish, wear gloves and remove the seeds from the chili. Add the onion, tomatillos, chili, and garlic to the beaker of a blender with the lime zest and juice. Blend until smooth, loosening with hot water if needed. Transfer the puree to a medium saucepan, add the salt and cook until reduced by about one-third. The sauce should be thick, spicy, a little salty, and puckery from lime juice. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the oil. Add the onions that have been sliced into half moons and sprinkle them with a little kosher salt. Cook the onions over medium high heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the poblanos and tomatillo sauce and bring to a boil, reduce to a strong simmer then stir in the shrimp and continue stirring just until the shrimp are pink. If there are a few patches on the shrimp that look undercooked, they will finish in the hot pan as you turn off the heat and transfer to a serving dish.

Sprinkle with the cilantro, stir, and serve with the corn tortillas and garnishes.

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