Once it starts getting cold outside, we’re just as content spending time at home cooking as we are heading out to one of our favorite restaurants — and on those coldest days, few things are better than cozying up inside with music playing as we mix up cocktails and try out a new recipe together. I tend to add a new cookbook to our collection each year to keep things fresh, so I was especially excited to receive a review copy of Pantry and Palate last month. Pantry and Palate focuses on the culinary traditions of the Acadians, the descendents of French colonists who settled in Canada’s maritime regions, through journalist Simon Thibault’s exploration of old family recipes, vintage cookbooks, and folk wisdom. “Comfort cooking at its finest” is probably the best way to describe the hearty meals within, but the cookbook is more than that. Thibault’s notations throughout the book share the history and tradition of the region — and the recipes themselves — adding a welcome dose of soul to Pantry and Palate. One of the recipes we’re most excited about is the rhubarb conserves (excerpted below). They sound amazing for adding to yogurt for breakfast!
RECIPE | RHUBARB CONSERVES
Makes 4–6 ( 500ml ) Bottles
From the Author
The initials “BL”were written next to this recipe. I’m not sure who “BL”is, but I would like to thank her very much for this recipe. “Soak overnight 2 quarts rhubarb and sugar,”it asks. There were no instructions for how and when to use the citrus, which is used to add pectin to the preserves. I decided to zest and juice the lemon and orange, and then let them macerate along with the rest of the fruit. I’m glad I did, as the smell in the morning was enough of a pick-me-up that I forgot to make coffee. I put the rhubarb straight into a pot to slowly simmer over a couple hours, reducing and thickening it into a tart/sweet jumble that smelled like a cross between poached rhubarb and marmalade. Midway through the cooking, I had a taste, and I may or may not have done a little dance. A note (or two): The original recipe asks for 1 to 2 quarts of sugar. I only used one, as I found it sweet enough. Once the rhubarb starts cooking down, give it a taste. If you think it can handle a bit more sugar, add a 1/4 cup or so, until it gets to the taste you’re looking for. And even though it’s not traditional, a vanilla bean that has been split in half and scraped of its seeds never hurt anyone. When it comes to the citrus fruits, you may want to place them in cheesecloth before you add them into the pot for cooking. It makes it easier if you wish to remove them from the preserves. I keep mine in as I like the slightly bitter taste I get from them.
- 2 pounds rhubarb, washed and rinsed
- 1 lemon
- 2 oranges
- 1 pound sugar
- Cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Place in a large bowl.
- Wash the oranges under warm water, and pat dry. Zest the citrus directly into the bowl with the rhubarb.
- Cut the oranges and lemon in half, and juice them, adding the juice to the rhubarb.
- Add the sugar and the spent citrus halves, and stir well. Place in fridge.and allow to macerate overnight.
- The next day place the ingredients from the bowl into a large pot, and turn the heat to medium-low. You will want to bring the rhubarb up to a gentle simmer, making sure to stir often so as not to scorch the sugar or the fruit. Make sure to skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
- Once it’s been brought up to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low,and stir every 8–10 minutes or so. This helps reduce the amount of liquid, as well as any possible chances of scorching.
- Keep cooking until the rhubarb thickens and reduces slightly, about 90 minutes or so. If you find yourself worrying about it scorching, simply reduce the heat further. It won’t hurt, and if anything will allow the liquid to reduce and the flavour to improve.
- Remove the orange and lemon segments if desired and pour the contents into a container.
- Serve on toast, over ice cream, with yogurt, or whatever your heart desires.
Excerpted from Pantry and Palate by Simon Thibault © 2017, Recipe text by Simon Thibault. ©2017, Recipe photographs by Noah Fecks.
All rights reserved. Published by Nimbus Publishing. Cross-posted to Bedknobs & Baubles.