Make Ahead

Balsamic Rhubarb and Onion Ketchup

April 27, 2010
3 Ratings
Author Notes

This sweet and tart condiment is great on sandwiches made with leftover roast chicken, turkey or pork, and on garlicky grilled brats. Or, thin it down with a bit of apple cider and braise red cabbage in it, to serve with pork chops or herb and garlic sausages. Please note that, like most condiments, this is better after a few days, and is at its best after about a week. Enjoy!!


  • Makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups of rhubarb, cut into ½” pieces (5 or 6 slender stalks)
  • ½ cup red wine (I use a Côtes du Ventoux)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon mace
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 tablespoon of brown mustard (I use one with horseradish in it.)
  • 1 tablespoon lightly chopped (or bruised) fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry balsamic vinegar (See note, below.)
  • Raw honey to taste, if necessary
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
In This Recipe
  1. In a heavy pot with a lid, cook the onions in the oil with a pinch of salt over medium heat until just translucent, stirring frequently. Then turn the heat down and cook for another thirty minutes, stirring every four or five minutes, taking care not to let them get brown. They should be the slightest golden brown, very soft and sweetly fragrant.
  2. Add the wine, brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt, the Worcestershire sauce, wine vinegar, mace and allspice. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about twenty minutes, until very thick and gooey.
  3. Add the rhubarb and cook for three or four minutes, until just tender. Turn the heat off and cover; let it sit for about ten minutes. Remove the lid, stir well and cook for another minute, stirring constantly.
  4. Add the mustard and thyme leaves; let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.
  5. Puree in the blender until smooth. Add the strawberry balsamic vinegar and blend for just a few seconds to combine. If it tastes too sharp (vinegary), add a tablespoon or two -- one at a time, tasting after the first -- of raw honey.
  6. Add the ground pepper and blend to combine.
  7. If you plan to vacuum seal for longer term storage, you should put the ketchup back into the pot and heat it to boiling before pouring into sterilized jars and sealing according to the manufacturer's instructions. Or skip the re-heating step and pour into any jar with a vinegar-proof lid and refrigerate for up to four weeks.
  8. Enjoy!
  9. I posted here on food52 a recipe for strawberry balsamic vinegar. If you don’t have any strawberry balsamic vinegar, or don't have time to make it (as it really needs at least three or four days before it's worth using), use regular balsamic vinegar, and drop into the pot, with the mustard, a handful of strawberries that you’ve coarsely chopped.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Lizthechef
  • Sunchowder
  • thirschfeld
  • AntoniaJames

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

When I'm not working (negotiating transactions for internet companies), or outside enjoying the gorgeous surroundings here in Boulder County, CO, I'm likely to be cooking, shopping for food, planning my next culinary experiment, or researching, voraciously, whatever interests me. In my kitchen, no matter what I am doing -- and I actually don't mind cleaning up -- I am deeply grateful for having the means to create, share with others and eat great food. Life is very good. ;o)