So, it’s been a bit of a rubbish year for the rhubarb harvest this year I’ve heard. Something to do with late frosts, which decimated some of my early sowings too.
However, I saw some British rhubarb in the shop the other day and couldn’t resist. But since I’m trying to eat less pudding and G doesn’t really like rhubarb anyway, it clearly wasn’t a well thought through purchase. I thought about a rhubarb tart, rhubarb crumble, a rhubarb cake, or just stewed rhubarb. Surely we would call that a compote these days? I love the astringent sharpness you get with rhubarb … perhaps the answer was to just stew some with some honey and vanilla and then have it with plain yoghurt. I’m a bit addicted to plain yoghurt (preferably greek style, fat free) and think I might have to try my hand again at making my own yoghurt. Mum used to do it when I was wee, but I suspect that it was helped by the fact we always had the rayburn on, so it had a good warm place to ferment. Ah well, that will be next week’s mission.
Anyway, after all that deliberating, I decided that rhubarb chutney was today’s cooking challenge. Not much of a challenge really, chutney is an easy peasy thing to make. The tricky bit is getting the mix of spices and flavours right – so only make a wee bit the first time you make a recipe, so you can try it for flavour and then tweak the next batch.
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 1cm ginger, chopped finely
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 50g caster sugar
- 100ml white wine vinegar, or elderflower vinegar if you have any
- 1/2 tsp Maldon sea salt
- 1″ cinnamon stick
- a couple of star anise
- 500g rhubarb, chopped into fairly thin slices
- Put the star anise and cinnamon stick into a spice cage if you have one. Alternatively, put them in a wee square of muslin tied up with string. Or you could just chuck the whole spices into the pan, if you don’t mind having bits in your final product.
- Place all the ingredients, except the rhubarb in a heavy duty pan and bring to the boil. Boil on a rolling boil for 5 minutes.
- Add the rhubarb to the pan and bring to the boil again. Turn down, and simmer for about 15 minutes when the chutney should be slightly thickened.
- Pour into sterilised jars while still hot. Use a 500ml jar, or a 340ml jar plus one of those wee pesto jars. But make sure they have been properly sterilised before you pour the chutney in, or it won’t keep properly.
- Remember to label the jar – I’d say it should keep for 12 months, but should be eaten within 8 weeks of opening and kept in a fridge, or other cool place once opened.
My verdict is that it is slightly too sweet on first tasting, but the flavours will develop and it will taste better in a week or two. I hope.
As ever it will be delicious with a good farmhouse cheddar but will probably also be good with cold pork, or with mackerel.