What's not to love about all the sweet treats made with rhubarb? This recipe shifts rhubarb to the savory side, a chutney that's fabulous with grilled steak, roast pork, even stirred into Greek yogurt for a 'savory' dessert.
"The rhubarb is ready, the rhubarb is ready!" As a child, this was the first sign that summer had truly arrived.
My mom kept a few plants on the north side of the house. The cherry-red stalks were tart-tart-tart so Mom sent us to fetch some with a small dish of sugar – tasting while picking was encouraged!
As much as I love rhubarb pie, rhubarb coffeecake, rhubarb muffins, rhubarb sauce (you get the picture), I’ve become partial to rhubarb chutney. Served with grilled pork or chicken, it shouts of summer. Since rhubarb freezes so well, the chutney can be made year-round – summer in January, anyone?
Fresh ginger can be hard to come by in small-town groceries. Don’t be tempted to use ground ginger, however, as it’s a poor substitute. Instead, pick up several gnarled knobs next time you run across them. Wrap in plastic wrap, then seal in a freezer bag and freeze. Later cut off about an inch to yield a tablespoon of grated ginger.
Total time: 25 - 45 minutes plus chilling
Makes 2 2/3 cups
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon red cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup (generous) chopped red onion
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb (fresh or frozen, about 1-1/2 pounds)
Combine all ingredients except onion, raisins and rhubarb in a four-quart kettle. Bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients and increase heat. Cook until rhubarb is tender and mixture thickens slightly, about 10 minutes for fresh rhubarb, about 30 minutes for frozen. Cool completely. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.
My dad's been trying to kill my mom's last rhubarb plants with Round-Up for years - thankfully, rhubarb is resilient and two survived. I've transplanted one plant into my own garden in Missouri and with the promise that rhubarb pie is the likely outcome, Dad is faithfully tending the other in Minnesota. Mom's rhubarb is a variety called 'Canadian Red' and yields the brilliant red color you see in the photo. I think of it as 'rhubarb red' - and it's become my favorite color! Not all rhubarb, however, is so red. In a few days, I'll post a recipe from another rhubarb plant in my garden that's a lovely soft chartreuse.
This recipe was originally published in print in 2003 and is published online for the first time in 2009
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