By Ruth D’Alessandro, The Wildlife Gardener The Wildlife Gardener loves tomatillos. They were a success last year, an even better one this year. Now that my current culinary obsession is pickling and bottling, it seemed only right that Tomatillo Chutney should come out of the Wildlife Garden kitchen. Also, Mr Mike Lang of Another Pint Please has been transatlantically waiting for this day. So Mikey Baby, this one’s for you.
I must admit that this is not wholly an original Wildlife Garden recipe. It’s more of a Hugh-Fearnley-Whittingstall-meets-Geeta-Samtani chimera: the gist of it has been taken from The River Cottage Cookbook, but I’ve aligned the spicing to Geeta’s Mango Chutney (THE best, with whole peppercorns, cardamoms and cloves floating about) so I didn’t have to fiddle about tying up spices in a little muslin bag and dangling into the saucepan. The bulk of the ingredients did come from the Wildlife Garden, though.
- 500g marrows or courgettes, cut into 1 cm dice
- 500g tomatillos, halved and sliced into half moons
- 500g windfall apples, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
- 250g onions, peeled and cut into 1 cm dice
- 250g dried fruit (with the candied peel picked out)
- 250g dark brown muscovado sugar
- 300ml spiced pickling vinegar, or wine vinegar
- 1 dried hot chilli, crumbled
- 6 green cardamom pods, cracked
- 6 whole cloves
- 12 whole black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
Simply put all the ingredients into a large preserving pan, bring them slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Then, simmer the chutney very gently with the lid off for about 3 hours. Stir it every 20 minutes or so. While the chutney is cooking, sterilise your old pickle jars (with the plastic-coated lids) by washing and rinsing in hot water (or the dishwasher) and drying them off in a warm oven. The chutney should reduce and thicken, and it is ready when a wooden spoon pushed through it makes it part, to show the bottom of the pan. Let the chutney cool a little, and pot up while still warm. Ideally, it should be stored in a cool dark place and left to mature for 2-3 months. The above quantities made 3 jars and a little bit extra to try out in a sandwich:
So what was Wildlife Garden Tomatillo Chutney like? Considering it hadn’t had time to mature, it was pretty tasty. The combination of whole spices lent the chutney a Geeta-esque exoticism and it had that lovely village-fete-preserves-tent homeliness. I don’t think we can wait 2 months! Wooh! Bring it on.