For Tigresses in a Jams March CAN-JAM the directive was alliums. Wandering through the Santa Monica farmers market I had a vague idea of a ramp and fennel pickle, but sadly there where no ramps to be found. But with spring in full swing the market was bursting with irresistible produce, asparagus, fennel, strawberries and rhubarb all beckoned me. Impulsively, and without a plan, I grabbed whatever struck my fancy and came home with rhubarb, fennel, spring onions, tarragon and blood oranges. Voila, Rhubarb Fennel Chutney.
chutney |ˈ ch ətnē|
noun ( pl. -neys)
a spicy condiment made of fruits or vegetables with vinegar, spices, and sugar, originating in India.
What defines chutney I wondered? Concerned that technically this recipe was not a chutney as it lacked raisins, I poked around on line searching for a definitive definition. I found no concrete answer and somehow, as is oft with the Internet, I knew both more, and less. Raisins I learned are not essential. In India the term chutney covers a panoply of condiments: sweet, spicy, fresh, cooked, and herbal, every cook and region has their own. Chutney is to India as salsa is to Mexico, and then some. To me it is defined by sweet and sour characteristics which pungent rhubarb lends itself perfectly too. I have added to that onions, tarragon, Pernod and fennel, typically French flavors that result in hybrid, which I am happy to call chutney.
- 2 cups white wine vinegar
- 11/2 cups brown sugar
- 11/2 cups white sugar
- 2 lbs rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch slices
- 2 cups chopped fennel
- 2 cups chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons fresh ginger minced
- zest and juice of 1 large orange
- (blood orange if available)
- 4 sprigs fresh tarragon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cups Pernod
- Prepare canner, jars and lids.
- In a large pot heat vinegar and sugar over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 35-45 minutes stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens.
- Fill jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace . Seal and place jars in canner covering with more hot water to submerge the jars. Bring to a boil and process hot water bath for 10 minutes for 1/2 pints and 20 minutes for pints. Remove canner lid and wait 5 minutes before carefully removing jars. Place jars on towels or a cutting board and let cool undisturbed for 24 hours.
- Label date and enjoy!