Thursday, July 28, 2011
Tomatillos...lessons from Tracy's kitchen
Like most good home cooks I routinely create my own recipes, but before I post my Chicken Corn and Carrot Chowder recipe, that I made this morning, I thought I should preface it with some lessons from "Tracy's Kitchen".
If you have never made green salsa, green chili, or chili verde, chances are you have never used tomatillos before. Tomatillos look like green tomatoes, but they have a thin papery cover and when that's removed the skin is sticky, so you should wash them before using. The most important thing to know about tomatillos is that they are tart and tangy, with more of an acidic nature.....this is kind of important to remember when thinking about what other kinds of vegetables to cook them with.
For instance, corn. Corn is sweet, right? Or should I say you want corn to taste sweet, right? What happens when you add acid to sweetness, like vinegar with sugar? They kind of cancel each other out if you use even amounts. The more acid you add the less sweet, and the more sweet you add the less acidic something will taste.
My idea for my chicken corn and carrot chowder was that of course I would include jalapeno, along my usual onion, celery and carrots in addition to the corn. I did not want to use cream or potato to thicken the stew so I decided to use extra carrots. Extra carrots would make it thicker when I blended some of it but it should also make it even sweeter tasting (in a good way!) Sounds reasonable doesn't it?
Because I was using jalapeno it was going to naturally lend itself to a more Mexican flavored stew, so I threw in the last red bell and some cumin.....that's when I remembered the tomatillos I picked up at Mi Pueblo the other day. I'm all about adding more veggeies, therefore more nutrition, and fiber whenever, and wherever, I can, so in they went.
Now it's done...the corn chowder that is, and time for a taste..... What happened to the sweet taste of corn and carrots? Good Lord! The freakin' tomatillos! I might as well have added a cup of vinegar!
Well, all was "fixed" and the Chicken Corn Chowder is super delicious, but I will share more do's and don'ts when I post the picture and recipe next time! I'd make another batch to get it right the next time, but this one made 3 qts and we are leaving for Hungary in less than a week. I already know the changes that need to be made....the biggest one is NO tomatillos!
Oh, but it takes only 15 minutes in the PC after the pressure comes to high...a total time of way less than 1 hour for prep and finished deliciousness!