Tomatillo & Tequila Chowchow

Time1 hour 15 minutes, plus 4 hours unattended
YieldsMakes 2 cups
Earthy tequila flavors this sweet-spicy relish made with tomatillos instead of the usual green tomatoes.
(Christina House/Los Angeles Times)
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The earthy salinity of tequila adds depth to this sweet, tangy relish, which uses tomatillos instead of the typical green tomatoes, and adds plenty of heat from serrano and habanero chiles. Try to use large tomatillos to make the slicing quicker. This chowchow is wonderful spooned onto grilled meat, but even better paired with grilled fish fillets, oysters or on sautéed crab cakes.


Remove the husks from the tomatillos, then rinse them under warm running water to remove the sticky film on the outside. Cut each into 8 wedges, then thinly slice the wedges crosswise to create triangles. Transfer the sliced tomatillos to a large bowl.


Add the onion, serrano and habanero. Sprinkle the vegetables with the salt and toss to combine. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4 hours or refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.


Transfer the vegetables to a large sieve set in the sink and press to extract as much liquid as possible, discarding the liquid.


While the vegetables drain, bring the tequila to a boil in a medium saucepan and cook until reduced by half, about 1 minute. Stir in the sugar, vinegar and garlic, then stir in the drained vegetables.


Cover the pan and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, almost all the liquid is gone and the mixture looks glossy, 40 to 45 minutes.


Remove the pan from the heat and let the chowchow cool completely. Transfer the chowchow to an airtight storage container and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to thicken before serving.

Make Ahead:
Refrigerate the chowchow in an airtight container for up to 1 month.