I just got my very own copy of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Flipping through the index, I was attracted to the entry for Victorian Barbecue Sauce with rhubarb. It made me think of English gardens in springtime. I thought of those giant manor houses, and all those skivvies sitting hour after hour beside hot fires turning the meat for the master’s table. What with its evocation of garden fresh ingredients, a kitchen bigger than my apartment, and a dearth of labor laws, this ‘barbecue sauce’ produced such a wealth of associations, I had to make it immediately.
According to the Ball book, “Victorian cooks roasted their meat in huge kitchen fireplaces and enhanced it with homemade sauces concocted from the garden…” So I suppose you could try to make this sauce from almost any fruit you like. It’s got to be good with beef, lamb, chicken, or any number of game fowl. Be sure to eat your rhubarb-basted supper accompanied by a decent hock, with a gooey treacle tart for pudding.
Victorian Barbecue Sauce with Rhubarb
(Adapted from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving)
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2/3-cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons white vinegar
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1.) Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2.) Reduce heat to a summer and stirring frequently cook sauce until thickened to consistency of barbecue sauce.
3.) Use as is or puree in a food processor to achieve a homogenous texture.