Have you outgrown your childhood nickname? (Come on, Litto Witto, Sassy Pants, Silly Billy and Snuffy -- let's unite!)
Well, rhubarb needs to cast aside its nickname, too. Sure, "pie plant" aptly defines the plant to unimaginative gardeners and cooks, but rhubarb can be so much more. Instead of always designating rhubarb to dessert fare, where a healthy dose of sugar tempers its tartness, unleash rhubarb's pucker alongside meats, pasta and other savory dishes.
I cooked these three recipes for my family -- and we love them! Click on each name or photo to get the full recipe at the source.
Rhubarb chive flatbread.
Whole stalks of rhubarb are arranged on an easy-to-make yeast bread. The rhubarb delivers a creamy, tangy jolt when you eat the bread, with a texture almost like the filling in a danish. This is prettiest with the reddest stalks of rhubarb. I chopped purple chive flowers along with the green chives to go into the dough. I thought I'd be extra fancy and place whole chives and flowers with the stalks of rhubarb. These flowers burned to a crisp (certainly hastened by the oil oil I drizzled on top), although the chopped blossoms incorporated into the dough were just fine.
Linguine with rhubarb, garlic, black and pepper
Delicious! This dish also has parsley and parmesan cheese. I chopped the rhubarb extra fine to make this an easier sell to my family, but I won't bother with such disguising next time. Plus, I think the bigger pieces will retain extra crunch. My husband wondered if there was chicken in there. Nope, all vegetarian. To refine the cooking instructions, I recommend sprinkling the parmesan in gradually. I should have known better than to add it to the pasta all at once; it formed a blob all at once. Imagine that.
Slow cooker pulled pork with rhubarb sauce
Throw a pork roast into a slow cooker with a mixture of rhubarb, spices, honey and worcestershire sauce on top, and walk away. The rhubarb breaks down almost completely. Shred meet and rhubarb together and serve on rolls for sandwiches. This won't have the vibrant color that a pulled pork sandwich made with commercial barbecue sauce will, but it is still nightly tasty. To the leftovers I adjusted the seasoning with chili powder and cumin and used in a Cafe Rio-type salad with greens, black beans and rice.
How have you used rhubarb beyond pies?