With fall already well underway here in Fairbanks, we have frantically harvested our veggies and brought in as many of our plants and herbs as we could rescue from the cold. Last night we had our first hard freeze. I’ve brought in as much of our wonderful rhubarb as I could manage. Unfortunately, it makes me more than a little bit crazy, trying to come up with new ways of using the rhubarb, and my husband, no doubt, a little bit nervous as I subject him to more of my experiments.
I made a rhubarb pie, of course, but neither of us needs much of that sort of thing – and I made Rhubarb-Raspberry Preserves, which we have shared with friends, but we have 8 huge plants, and that’s a heck of a lot of rhubarb! Last evening, we had guests from Korea, and I made a pie that stayed hot so long it was served as more of a Rhubarb Cobbler, but at least it was well received. I always thought it sad that so many people had never tried rhubarb – or if they had it had been such a bad experience that they didn’t want to try it again. Such a shame. It’s a delightful vegetable – and it is a vegetable, even though most people make it into delectable desserts and sweets.
A couple of weeks ago I served some of the rhubarb chutney that I came up with on a pork loin that we grilled with a rhubarb glaze that I invented just for the occasion. (Jon made a fabulous cauliflower mash to go with it.) As I say, rhubarb on the brain… Jon is such a wonderfully good sport. He listens to my ideas, helps me decide if the flavor combinations I’ve dreamed up will work, and is my primary taste-tester. Beyond all of that, however, and most importantly, it’s his job to select a wine that will work with my concoctions!
Rhubarb has wonderfully complex flavor with a deep tartness that lends itself well to pork and poultry. I suppose you could consider using it where you’ve traditionally used cranberries. I’ve posted the recipe for my simple Rhubarb Glaze. It worked really well for the grilled pork and has just a few ingredients. If you don’t grow your own rhubarb, check with your grandmother – she will enjoy hearing from you!
Experimenting with rhubarb is a lot of fun because it can be sweet or savory and it can do either surprisingly well. Enjoy the trial and error!