Tomatillos are funny little things. They grow inside husks that look like little lanterns, like the better known orange Chinese lantern plant. They are sisters within the plant realm, brought to Europe from Mexico.
I always image putting little lights in the lanterns and hanging them on a string, lighting the garden . I can see them dangling in the wind, gnomes and fairies dancing to them.
As for the tomatillos, the plant itself doesn’t need much care, it will do nicely in gardens, greenhouses or even a large pot, and will surprise you with lovely green tomatillos in exchange for a bit of water every day and loads of sun.
When the husks burst, they’re ready to eat. Raw, they taste like something between an apple and a tomato. Cooked or baked, the taste is richer and warmer.
I had some left to play with, and chutney’s are such a great way to preserve things for a later date. We can’t eat everything right now, nor would I want to. I love the idea of december dishes made with things I harvested in the summer.
The original recipe called for apples, but i had none, so i subbed them for red currants. It worked very well. I had a spoon full this morning (while eating breakfast), and it made me want to eat dinner. P thought it was good as well, but said the taste made his brain confused on the time of day and figured he’d like it even better in the evening.
It’s lovely. Tangy and sweet and sour, and the pepper comes through just enough to make it interesting. I contemplated putting in two, but I’m glad I didn’t.
Chutneys pair well with aged cheese and gamey flavours, and this one will be no exemption. The addition of red currants will also be lovely around Christmas or Thanksgiving.
Tomatillo & Red Currant Chutney
* 500 gr (1 lbs) tomatillos, husks removed and roughly chopped
* 250 gr (1/2 lbs) red currants, washed and stems removed
* 1 onion, peeled and chopped
* 1 dried chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
* 25 gr (1/4 cup) raisins
* 60 g (4 tbsp) natural cane sugar
* 125 ml (1/2 cup) apple cider vinegar
* 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
* 1/2 tsp salt
Put all ingredients in a pan, cover with the lid and bring to the boil. It will seem like there is very little fluid at first, but the currents will release their juice and make up for that.
Let simmer for about an hour, pour into sterilized jars, cover and seal.
It’s lovely as is, but i’d recommend you let the chutney sit for about a month, allowing the flavours to blend and the taste to mature.
Yields about three medium size jars (300 ml/10 fl. oz).