So, taking inspiration from an afternoon I once spent in the heirloom gardens of culinary historian and seed-saving juggernaut William Woys Weaver, I loaded up on rhubarb. Weaver kept several varieties of the huge plant growing in his gardens and, as a parting gift, laid about ten pounds of the stuff on me. At his suggestion, I made a mess of chutney.
This time around, I consulted a few dozen books for recipes using “pie plant” (so-called because the stalks were so widely used as pie filling in years past—a use of which I heartily approve). In the end, I combined several chutney recipes to come up with this one that goes well with grilled chicken and pork.
As a belated thanks, Will, here's my nod to one of the most backward-looking gardening projects I've had the pleasure to know. And I mean that in the best possible way.
The rhubarb will throw off a lot of liquid as it cooks.
1 lb rhubarb, cut into ½” pieces
zest of 1 large orange
2 small or 1 large onions (12-14 oz), chopped small
2 Tbl fresh ginger, finely minced
1 tsp crushed red pepper (e.g. Turkish Aleppo pepper)
1 tsp dry mustard
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
½ cup dried cherries
1 tsp kosher salt
Put all the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, partially cover, and cook 10-15 minutes. Uncover and cook another 20-25 minutes, until the rhubarb has broken down into less distinct shreds and colored the whole mass ruddy.
Makes about two pints.