I love rhubarb in the springtime. Which is a good damn thing because I ain’t getting it the rest of the year. Like its springtime cousin, fennel, rhubarb’s bite is mitigated in cooking, where it softens and takes on a subtler, sweeter flavor. While often paired with strawberries, I prefer rhubarb alone. Strawberries tend to overwhelm the subtler rhubarb flavor, and the end result is a lot more banal than if you’d just used rhubarb by itself.
Below are two of my favorite rhubarb recipes, one for sorbet (ice cream maker needed) and the other for a quick chutney recipe. I know rhubarb sorbet sounds pretty weird, but it’s tangy, soft and creamy and among the best sorbets I’ve made. As for the chutney, rhubarb cooks really fast so if you’re in the mood for chutney and don’t feel like inhaling vinegar fumes for 2 hours, I recommend this recipe.
(Adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 1/2 lb rhubarb, trimmed, cut into half inch pieces
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lemon
1.) Bring rhubarb, water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat and cover 5-7 minutes until rhubarb is cooked.
2.) Puree water/sugar/rhubarb mixture in a food processor with the lemon juice.
3.) Chill in the refrigerator until thoroughly cold, at least 3 hours.
4.) Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Allow to harden in the freezer overnight.
(Adapted from Bon Appétit)
I used fresh turmeric in this recipe as I happened to have bought some in Jackson Heights this week. Feel free to use powdered or leave it out altogether.
¾ cup brown sugar
1/3-cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced, peeled fresh turmeric
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups rhubarb, cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup onions
1/3-cup raisins or dried cherries
1.) Combine everything except rhubarb, onions, and dried fruit in a heavy enameled pot. Simmer over low heat until sugar dissolves. Add remaining ingredients.
2.) Increase temperature to medium and cook until rhubarb has completely broken down and the mixture thickens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Cool. Serve with lamb or pork.