Rhubarb Chutney – A Condiment for All Seasons
When you think of rhubarb do you think of rhubarb pie? I think of the small farm next to our house where every few years they grew rhubarb and as kids we use to play hide and seek under the big leaves. Every once in a while us kids would dare each other to take a bite from the rhubarb stalk and immediately regret it because the flavor is extremely sour.
My mom who is from Denmark would make this incredible dessert called Rødgrød Med Fløde which may just be the most difficult Danish expression I’ve ever heard. It is a red berry pudding made with cream and Denmark’s unofficial national dessert. I’ll have to make some soon and post the recipe.
Chutney and How It Can Be Used
Chutney is the name of a large family of condiments and depending on where you are from, they’ll be made with a large variety of ingredients. Basically they are prepared with a combination of spices and vegetables and/or fruits and served with meals to add additional flavor.
The name chutney comes from the Indian word chatni which means “crushed.” Historically, chutney was prepared with a motor and pestle before every meal because of the lack of refrigeration at the time. Today, it is made with vinegar or sugar to help preserve it.
It is used as a condiment (relish) with curry dishes but also with a variety of meats especially those that are smoked. It helps balance strong tasting meats including lamb or venison but also gives a little kick to mild cheeses like baked brie. Here I’m using the rhubarb chutney to give the pork chops a little extra flavor.
Rhubarb Chutney Recipe
- 6 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 - 2 inch piece of ginger
- 2 - 4 pieces of rhubarb 12 ounces
- 4 tablespoons honey
- 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prep the Ingredients
- Peel and mince the ginger, cut up the rhubarb into 3/4 inch pieces, peel the lemon with a vegetable peeler then quarter the lemon. Finely mince the lemon peels.
- Alternative Method For Zesting
- I like preparing zest the way described above, but if you have a zesting tool like a box or hand grater, you can use that for preparing the zest. Whatever works best for you.
- Heat up a small sauce pan until hot and add 4 teaspoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the ginger and cook for 1 minute stirring frequently until it starts to soften up.
- Add the rhubarb, honey, lemon zest and the juice from the lemon being careful not to let any seeds get into the sauce. I like to squeeze the lemon into my hand letting the juice go between my fingers but not the seeds.
- Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the rhubarb breaks up and the sauce starts to thicken. You’re going to be surprised how quickly the rhubarb breaks down once it gets going. You’ll be stirring and all of a sudden you have sauce. This should take about 15 minutes.
- Remove the sauce from the heat and add the additional 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. You rhubarb chutney is now ready to serve with pork, chicken, turkey or some fish.