Tips and tricks for using green tomatoes in recipes calling for tomatillos or even red tomatoes. Plus a kid-friendly, saucy chicken dish that’s perfect for tailgaiting or even Taco Tuesday.
It’s the end of the summer and we have green tomatoes galore. And that’s a good thing. If you see green tomatoes at the farmers market, do NOT pass them up! (Bonus: They’re usually cheaper than the ripe red variety.)
In most recipes, I use tomatillos and green tomatoes interchangeably. Here’s what I’ve tried:
- Green Tomato Salsa Verde – Just swap green tomatoes in for the tomatillos in this Tomatillo Salsa Verde recipe. It’s delish on the below Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga.
- Roasted Green Tomato Salsa – Just like roasting any veggie, roasting green tomatoes makes them sweet. I use this recipe for Fiery Tomatillo Salsa from Janice @Meal Makeover Moms. For more info on roasting green tomatoes, check out this #HealthyKitchenHacks post.
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga – I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if this would work. But oh, man! My whole family thought it yummy. The key was to briefly caramelize the green tomatoes before slow cooking them. This helped turn any bitter flavors to the characteristic bright and tart tomatillo flavors.
Now, here’s how to add green tomatoes to any recipe calling for tomatillos or even red tomatoes:
Salt is key. I didn’t use a lot. Crushed tomatoes have quite a bit of salt, so I didn’t need to add any to this recipe (for my family’s tastes.) But if you make a fresh salsas, add salt, let the flavors meld for an hour or two and taste again.
Bright acid is the second key. Green tomatoes tend to have a tannin-y (like tea,) almost-bitter tartness. To ‘soften the edges’ of this bitterness, add bright citrus. Of course lime is the perfect classic-Mexican choice. But sweet orange or grapefruit would also be lovely in a fresh salsa or any cooked dish too. Got green tomatoes? Make super-flavorful Slow Cooker Chicken Tinga w/ Tortilla Chips via @TspCurry Click To Tweet
A bit more about this dish: I’ve always wanted to recreate a dish we loved from the Tamale Hut restaurant near our former home in Chicago. They served their slow-cooked, super flavorful chicken tinga on homemade tortilla chips. My recipe is really, really close to the richly flavored, chocked-full-of chicken, heartily sauced tinga from our Tamale Hut friends. The green tomatoes just melted the yummy robust sauce.
Do you ever cook with green tomatoes? Have you ever made Chicken Tinga?