I mentioned recently I feel rhubarb has an identity crisis. People think it is a fruit rather than vegetable because of its tangy yet fruity flavors. This fruit mentality often relegates rhubarb to the dessert cart. There are many recipes for crisps, tarts, pies, jellies, cookies, and cakes, but not too many highlighting rhubarb for the more savory entrée.
Although I made this recipe with a pork loin, the flavors will work well with roasted turkey or chicken. I think it would complement wild game too.
I moved rhubarb to the dinner plate with this recipe. I have frequently used cranberries to make a cranberry port sauce served with turkey at Thanksgiving and other holidays. This got me thinking. Since cranberries and rhubarb share a similar flavor profile – both tart and tangy – I should be able to substitute rhubarb for cranberries in this sauce.
While the pork was roasting, I got to work on the rhubarb port sauce. I started by chopping one pound of rhubarb into small pieces, about 1/4″ or so, that would be roughly the size of cranberries. To this, I added 3/4 cups of packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, and 1 and 1/4 cups of ruby port. Why 1 and 1/4 cup of ruby port? Because that leaves 1/4 cup of port in a 375 milliliter bottle that the cook can then enjoy while occasionally stirring the sauce until it reduces and thickens slightly.
Time to start working on that rhubarb appetizer and cocktail. I have ideas.
Here is what I did:
Pork Loin with Rhubarb Port Sauce
3 to 5 pound boneless center cut pork loin
Fresh ground black pepper
1 Pound chopped rhubarb (approximately 1/4″)
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/4 Cup ruby port
1 Teaspoon cornstarch
Prepare grill for indirect grilling, heat to 325°F.
Allow pork loin roast to come to room temperature and then season all sides with kosher salt and pepper. Roast until internal temperature of 145° F. Plan on approximately 20 minutes per pound for the roast to come to this temperature. Pull roast and let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.
While the pork loin is roasting, add the rhubarb, brown sugar, port and cornstarch to a 3 quart saucepan. Bring to a low boil and then simmer until liquid is reduced to about half and the sauce begins to thicken; about 45 minutes. The rhubarb will be fairly broken down yet still slightly chunky. The sauce will thicken even more as it cools.
Slice pork loin into approximately 3/4″ slices and spoon rhubarb port sauce over loin slices and serve.