Cilantro-Poblano Cream Sauce

  • 1/2 pound plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (18 tablespoons altogether)
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped leeks (about 2 large leeks)
  • 3 cups coarsely chopped celery (about 3 ribs)
  • 12 poblano chiles, seeded and coarsely chopped (about 3 pounds altogether; you may substitute green bell peppers)
  • 3 cups cilantro roots and stems, coarsely chopped (cut from about 6 bunches of cilantro), plus 1/4 cup finely minced cilantro leaves
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Tabasco green pepper sauce (optional)

1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the chopped leeks and celery. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the poblanos and the chopped cilantro roots and stems. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add the flour, stirring well to coat the vegetables. If the pot seems dry, add a little more butter. Sauté the roux for 2 minutes.

2. Add the chicken stock, stirring vigorously to blend well. Raise heat, bring mixture to a boil, then let simmer for 30 minutes. The sauce should be a medium-thick consistency.

3. Strain the solids out of the sauce, reserve them, and return sauce to saucepan. Finely mince some of the solids until you have 3/4 cup. Return those to the sauce and add the minced cilantro leaves. Stir well to blend. Add the nutmeg and, if desired, a little Tabasco green pepper sauce. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Adapted from It's All American Food by David Rosengarten (Little, Brown 2003).

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
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Enough for 12 diners and one turkey
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