Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boxing Day Dinner: Tomato Rhubarb Chutney

My partner's aunt hosts her extended family on the day after Christmas, which for us means three big roast beast meals in a row, starting with Christmas Eve. I didn't really contribute to any of the preparation of the delicious glazed ham dinner meal, which also included oven roasted butternut squash with apples, steamed green beans with plum tomatoes, baked potato with sour cream, salad with grapefruit and avocado, and carrot cake for dessert. But I did present my hosts with a pint of tomato rhubarb chutney that I'd made in the spring when rhubarb came into season.

I think of the tomato rhubarb chutney as my first chutney because the first "chutney" I ever prepared was Martha's cranberry chutney. But now looking at her recipe, I see that because of the addition of nuts, Martha's chutney is actually a conserve. I've had a bear of a time finding a link to Martha's "chutney" because I got it from the Food Network's site before they gave Martha the ax when she became a convicted felon. Martha's cranberry chutney does have a good amount of cider vinegar and it's that sour in addition to the sweetness that to me defines a chutney. But do the nuts make it a conserve? Is there a distinction or is it a hybrid? Does anyone really care?

Here's a recipe for pork chops with rhubarb chutney that ran in the Washington Post in May of 2006. It comes from Elinor Klivens and it uses some some of the chutney to marinate the pork chops and to make into a pan sauce to serve on the side. Usually I just grill the chops with my favorite fennel spice rub and then just serve the chutney on the side on its own. The chutney is also delcious with pork tenderloin, chicken, salmon, cheese, etc.

Pork Chops with Tomato Rhubarb Chutney

by Elinor Klivens

4 servings

With boneless pork chops and some made-in-advance Tomato Rhubarb Chutney, it's a simple matter to create this savory entree. Serve with sauteed cabbage or baked sweet potatoes.

Four 5-ounce boneless pork chops (may substitute thick slices of pork tenderloin)

1 cup Tomato Rhubarb Chutney (recipe follows)

1 tablespoon corn oil or other flavorless vegetable oil

1/3 cup chicken broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth


Freshly ground black pepper

Chopped cilantro or chives, for garnish (optional)

Place the pork chops and 1/2 cup of the Rhubarb Tomato chutney in a resealable plastic food storage bag, then seal and squeeze to evenly coat the meat. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Shake off the excess chutney from the pork chops and reserve the marinade in the bag. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it is hot but not smoking. Sear the chops, turning occasionally, until they have browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Add the chutney reserved from the marinade and the chicken broth. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the chops are cooked through and the chutney mixture has thickened and deepened in color. Add the remaining 1/2 cup chutney to the skillet and cook, stirring, just until heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the chops with the chutney pan sauce spooned over the top. Garnish with cilantro or chives, if desired.

Tomato Rhubarb Chutney

Makes about 3 cups

This flavorful chutney recipe makes more than you need for the pork chops. Use what's left over to enliven almost any curry or grilled or roasted chicken, duck or pork.

Since the chutney is stored cold, it does not require processing in a boiling water bath. It will keep for up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator. It also may be frozen in plastic containers or sturdy glass preserving jars for up to 6 months; thaw in the refrigerator before using.

1 tablespoon chopped red or yellow onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger root

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

3 sprigs thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)

1/2 tablespoon orange zest

1/2 teaspoon crushed allspice berries or cardamom seeds, pods removed

Generous 1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1 3/4 cups 1/2-inch pieces rhubarb (about 3/4 pound well-trimmed stalks)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries or whole golden raisins

1 large firm tomato, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped

In a lidded, medium nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the onion, ginger, mustard seeds, thyme, orange zest, allspice or cardamom, salt, sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Add the rhubarb and cherries or raisins and stir. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, for 3 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs, if using. Add the chopped tomato and cook, uncovered, for about 3 minutes or until it is just cooked through but still holds some shape. (The chutney may seem somewhat fluid, but it will thicken a bit when cooled.) Store, refrigerated, in tightly capped glass jars.


  1. hummmm I have a lot small tomatoes in the garden, what weight do you think your large tomatoe weighs or how many small tomatoes do you think I should use? Did you make this up or was it a recipe you found? regards Tinkas Mum

  2. Hello, Tinkas--

    So nice to see that someone happens upon my lonely little blog. This recipe is from the Washington Post originally. The first link in my blog post is for the Post article. Scroll down to the Rhubarb-Tomato Chutney if you'd like to compare my take to the original recipe. I'd say you should use at least an 8-10 ounce tomato. If using smaller tomatoes I don't know if it would be worth it to peel them. Let me know how it turns out if you try.

    I'm curious as to where you are in February with a garden full of tomatoes. Must be some place way south of Washington, DC!

    1. Hi Sean
      Thanks for your reply, I am just going to try your recipe now so will let you know how I go. I live in New Zealand so this time of year we have lots of vegies. However we are going through a heat wave at present so they are starting to dry up a bit now. Will be in touch once I am finished. regrds Leola


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