The Gallivanting Gourmand
Greg Duncan
Greg Duncan
is a freelance writer based in the Montreal region. He is particularly keen about good food. In his day job, Greg is the executive director of the Quebec Community Newspapers Association.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 05.13.08


The glories of rhubarb marinade

As humans, we spend a lot of time filling up. Long gone are the days of foraging for wood and chasing wild antelope on the plains for daily sustenance and warmth. Homo Sapiens ancient giant leap from hunter-gatherer to agriculturist has proven that while we might walk upright, we have learned little.

Oh, we gather and hunt for survival all right, but now we gather and hunt for money most days. We grow corn and soy and rice and beef -- all for money and fuel. Farmers do it and governments subsidize it. It's a sad state we're in with a real global food and fuel crisis looming, causing civil unrest in many food- producing countries.

We need to fuel our bellies and vehicles and it has become nearly impossible for millions worldwide. Like so many cattle, we are herded willingly to slaughter.

It just might be a good time to get that backyard garden started and think about eating more simply and locally for a while. Now that spring has sprung we can look forward to seasonal produce on the near horizon.

Strawberries are still a few weeks away but rhubarb is coming right up and the newly sprouted stuff is the best in my opinion. Its juice makes a great cleansing tonic and we all know that a good jam or jelly can never be wrong.

Boil rhubarb down with some good maple syrup and you have a great ice cream topping too. Or, just crunch and munch a few tangy sticks for an energy giving, much needed vitamin boost. If you have some in your backyard already, all the better. If not, ask around, and you will be sure to find a friend who does. Worse case scenario, head to the local produce section of your store.

Did you know that Rhubarb is great as a marinade or tenderizer for a tough piece of meat? It has just enough acidity to break down any tough fibers.

Get yourself a nice big blade or round beef roast (2.2 pounds or 1 kg) and place it the following marinade in a large heavy plastic bag or container in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours prior to roasting in the oven or on your barbecue on a low setting for 1/1/2 hours at 325F or 163C degrees. Reserve the marinade and bring to a rolling boil to use as a sauce.

Spring Rhubarb and Ginger Marinade for Oven or Barbecue Beef

  • 1 1/2 cups (355mL) wine (white or red) or chicken broth
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 inch piece (5 cm) fresh ginger root, grated
  • 4 fresh rosemary sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
  • 1 pound (450g) fresh rhubarb, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (60mL) honey or maple syrup- your choice
  • Coarsely crushed or cracked black pepper to taste