An Alternative to Cranberry Sauce – Jaboticaba and Rhubarb

Posted on November 22, 2007. Filed under: Brazil, cranberry sauce, food, jaboticaba, Myrcia cauliflora, rhubarb | Tags: , , , , , , |

rhubarb and jaboticaba chutney

rhubarb and jaboticaba chutney

Today is Thanksgiving. In Brazil we have turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn bread stuffing and pumpkin pie. It’s just like back in the States. The only thing missing is the cranberry sauce. That is because there are no cranberries in Brazil.

The jaboticaba (Myrcia cauliflora, also spelled jabuticaba) reminds me a little of the cranberry. They are tart in the same way as cranberries are, but with their own characteristics of bosque fruit or wild rasberries. For Thanksgivings past I have relied on a jar of jaboticaba jelly to stand in the place of honor between the turkey and the mashed potatoes. It served its purpose, adding that sour complexity to the richness of sweet and savory piled on the plate. But, this year I wanted something beyond a jar of jelly. I wanted something sourer and spicier. The jelly, marvelous as it is, is made for spreading on toast.



I decided on making a chutney using the fresh jaboticaba fruit. Jaboticaba has an inedible pit surrounded by luscious juicy flesh like a grape and its skin about as thick. Its gold is its juice. So I would need to extract the juice and apply it to another fruit to be the chutney base. I went to the market believing the answer would reveal itself to me. Sure enough, next to the jaboticaba sat the rhubarb. Once home I extracted the juice from the jaboticaba and applied the science of a recipe for cherry chutney to my spoils from the market (see recipe below).

The results were tart and spicy with just a touch of sweet. I didn’t recreate cranberry sauce from other ingredients (like a nut log in the place of a turkey). I just created a sauce that finds itself at home in the typical Thanksgiving line-up. It makes my Thanksgiving Brazilian, as it truly is.



Rhubarb and Jaboticaba Chutney

(makes about 2 cups)

1 lb rhubarb stalks

1 lb jaboticaba fruit

2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

olive oil

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon allspice

the seeds of about 4 cardamom pods, ground

fresh ground black pepper to taste

a fresh grates of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

a few grates of orange peel

Clean the rhubarb. Cut the stalks into 1 inch pieces. Extract the juice of the jaboticaba by pulsing it a few times in the blender or food processor. Strain out the skin and pits. Reserve the juice discarding the rest. Over medium heat, saute the garlic in the olive oil. Add the rhubarb and fresh ginger. Saute rhubarb until it sweats a little. Add the wine and jaboticaba juice. Reduce heat and simmer. After about 5 minutes add the spices, sugar and orange peel. Let simmer until the rhubarb falls apart and the chutney thickens, about 20 minutes. Reserve in a container in the refrigerator 3 days, or preserve chutney in sterilized jars and pasteurize like jelly.

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