Last year, my kitchen sister suggested that I try my hand at growing tomatillos since they are rumoured to be a very container-happy easy plant to grow, even indoors. So I figure, why not? We ordered some tomatillo seeds along with the rest of our veg and we planted them along with the rest of our veg last spring.
As it turns out, they are super simple to grow and keep around – just make sure you put at least two plants together because tomatillos need both a female and male plant in order to actually pollinate and grow tomatillos.
In the middle of the summer, I was really excited about the tomatillos that were growing in our garden and I had come across this recipe from Saveur for tomatillo chicken and had to try it.
Up to this point, I wasn’t even sure what to do with tomatillos. I had never eaten them or prepared them and wanted to know if all the excitement that was building up was even worth it, since it was possible that I wouldn’t like tomatillos in the end. But as it turns out, it was really tasty!
I looked around online and found that buying tomatillos with a husk that is just barely split at the bottom and not too big are what to look for and so we set out to buy these gems. I also had to find and figure out what hominy is. While I’m not thrilled that it is a re-constituted food item, I was actually not turned off by the taste or texture, I would certainly add more next time! The sauce that was created from cooking the chicken, tomatillo and hominy together was pretty fantastic over rice. This is easily going to come around in our dinner rotation and how nice that we have found yet another vegetable that we like??
Recently my tomatillo plant bit the dust, it rained a bit too hard for a bit too long and the tomatillo plant got over watered and died. but we were able to pick the few tomatillos that grew on it and made this again. I was so taken with this recipe and the desire to make salsa verde from scratch that I will certainly be growing these again next year – but more of them and I will keep them inside for a bit longer than I did so that more of the baby plants don’t give in to the water and bugs and make it further along than this batch did.
I will even bring them inside and see if I can keep them growing all year long – kind of like herbs. Does anyone know if this is possible? I guess we will be finding out soon enough! For reasons like these, I simply can’t wait to move so I can start buying seeds and getting things ready to plant!
I have a few more recipes that require tomatillos and I can’t wait to give them a go, but first things first, holiday cooking!
What are you doing for the holidays??
Ingredients: adapted from Saveur
- 2 lbs tomatillos, husked, washed & halved
- 1 TBS vegetable oil
- 2 lbs chicken thighs
- 2 jalapenos, chopped
- 1 medium white onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- one 15 oz can of hominy, drained (optional)
- 1/4 C cilantro, chopped
In a food processor, puree the tomatillos then set aside.
In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and add it to the pot, skin side down. Cook until the skin is crispy and golden brown about 6 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. You may have to brown the chicken in batches.
Add the jalapenos and onion to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently until softened about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
Stir in the tomatillo puree and hominy and season with salt and pepper. Nestle the chicken into the mixture skin side up, in sauce. Cover the pot and simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 22-25 minutes. Stir in the cilantro at the very end then season with additional salt and pepper if necessary and serve piping hot over basmati rice or pasta.