My mother always bought Sunset Magazine back when it was a truly regional magazine and not the generic corporate mess it’s become now. (Bitter much? Not me.) I still own a number of Sunset Magazines and cookbooks from their glory days. I was thumbing through Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes (1978, 16th printing, badly stained and falling apart but I won’t buy a replacement because I’m afraid the editors might have decided to “improve” it) when I came across this old recipe. When I was a kid I thought this was sounded weird and as disgusting as something could sound, but I was a kid and totally brainless.
After finding similar-but-not identical recipes online, I made this somewhat enhanced version a couple of weeks ago and let it age. Yesterday we had a ham for Easter and I served this alongside. It was great with the ham. It would be wonderful with turkey, pork, duck, lamb, or anything gamey like venison. It tastes similar to mincemeat, somewhat savory yet sweet with brown sugar. Make it now while rhubarb is in the market. It’s super-simple. I saw other recipes that increased the cayenne to a teaspoon, cut the brown sugar in half, added garlic, pickling spices, and so on. This would lend itself to any number of variations.
ALASKA RHUBARB-ONION RELISH
- 4 cups chopped rhubarb
- 4 cups chopped white or yellow onions
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 scant tablespoon salt
- 4 cups brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon each cloves, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, and celery salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all ingredients in a large pan.
Cook slowly over medium heat.
It will turn a vile and unappetizing brown but smell heavenly. Keep cooking and stirring occasionally until it gets fairly thickened (like warm jam).
Pour into sterilized canning jars and seal. (This entry discusses the process of sterilizing jars and basic canning of high-acid foods.) The recipe says it makes 8 cups, but I got about 6 cups.