Rhubarb: Three Takes on a Summer Favorite

I had very little use for rhubarb, growing up on a back road in Windsor, Maine, but the plants that seemed huge when I was small grew there in our garden every year, fertilized dutifully with manure from the cow farm across the street and watered as an afterthought when all the other plants had been tended to. The best thing I could come up with to do with it was to fan myself with the immense leaves on a hot day. My father, on the other hand, was always fond of strawberry rhubarb pie, and as soon as Mom and I could get to Popp’s Berry Farm to pick a few dozen pints, he’d be itching for one; sooner, if we had berries left over in the freezer from the year before. Though this season’s haul of local berries is only just beginning to flood in, you’ll see his influence was lasting, because they have still found a way into one of these recipes.

Stewed Chicken with Rhubarb

  • 4 chicken thighs (or two leg quarters)
  • 2 c. chopped rhubarb
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp bacon grease (or other oil)

In a large saucepan, melt butter and soften onion and garlic. Add bacon grease and rhubarb. Place chicken on top, add seasonings, and pour chicken stock over the whole mess. Simmer on medium heat until chicken is tender, rhubarb has softened, and broth has formed a rich, spiced sauce. (My boyfriend loved this so much that I only got one of the four pieces of chicken!)

Rhubarb Strawberry Ice Cream

  • 3 c chopped rhubarb
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 strawberries, sliced
  • sprinkle of kosher salt
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 c. milk

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add rhubarb, brown sugar, vanilla (extract and seeds) strawberries and salt. Simmer on medium heat until rhubarb is quite soft. Refrigerate to chill before adding to cream and milk. Churn in ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions.

Rhubarb Meringue Pie

  • 1 9-inch pie crust, cooked
  • 2 lbs. rhubarb (pureed and strained to make 2 c. juice)
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 c. & 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • pinch of cream of tartar
  • 2 drops red food coloring (if your rhubarb is not very red)

In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks. In a medium saucepan, whisk together rhubarb juice, cornstarch and 1/2 c. sugar over medium high heat. When it has come to a boil, cook for about one minute or until it begins to thicken. Pour about a half cup in with the egg yolks and whisk quickly to temper, then add egg mixture back into the saucepan. Continue cooking while whisking until thickened and pour into baked pie crust to cool until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites until frothy, then add cream of tartar. Continue beating until it reaches the soft peak stage, then add 1/4 c. sugar, a little bit at a time. When the mixture reaches stiff peaks, dollop on top of rhubarb filling and bake 10-15 minutes or until peaks are golden brown.

For more recipes from my kitchen to yours, please visit http://forkable.net.

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Fia Fortune

About Fia Fortune

Fia Fortune is a home cook who enjoys gardening, creating recipes for her two blogs, cooking for herself and her boyfriend, and trying to keep up with their blended family of four cats.