© Chef Michael Smith 2018

Rhubarb chutney is a tasty condiment side-kick for whatever hits your grill this season. Meat, fish or fowl – even grilled veggie burgers – get a big bright boost from this balanced classic. Rhubarb’s sour tang is mellowed with sweetness, fragrant spices and spicy heat in this make-ahead topping. You can perk up more than Half Your Plate with this fragrant chutney!

Yield: Makes 2 large 1-Lt Mason jars, 1 for you, 1 to share


1 cup of fresh, local water
2 oranges, zested & juiced
2 lemons, zested & juiced
1 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of Pernod or other anise liqueur (optional)
1 tablespoon of Sriracha or your favourite hot sauce
1 tablespoon of fennel seed
1 tablespoon of coriander seed
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of salt
2 pounds of rhubarb stalks, washed, trimmed, thickly sliced
1 cup of raisins
2 red onions, thinly sliced


Make a fragrant mulling broth in a saucepot with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat. Stir together the water, citrus, sugar, liqueur, spices and seasonings. Bring the works to a full, furious boil. Toss in the raisins and reduce to a slow steady simmer for a few minutes.

Add the onions and cover. Simmer for a minute or two longer then add the rhubarb. Stir vigorously yet briefly, quickly distributing the fragrant flavours. Turn up the heat and without stirring cook until the chutney comes to a full furious boil yet again, just 2 or 3 minutes more. Cover tightly and remove from the heat.

Rest until cool enough to handle then transfer to jars. Refrigerate overnight if possible. The flavours will deepen and intensify. Your patience will be rewarded with big bold flavours ready to serve and share at your next BBQ night!


Rhubarb is mystifyingly a vegetable treated like fruit. It’s luxurious texture, unique sourness and easy availability make it a seasonal all-star and an easy anchor for this big, bold condiment. The key is to cook it just long enough for the chunks to soften and absorb the delicious mulling liquid without cooking so long that the delicate stalks collapse into mush.