Valley Bounty: Rhubarb

Despite living in New England for almost my entire life, my whole knowledge of rhubarb, up until recently, consisted in knowing that it is preceded by “strawberry” and followed by “pie”. The incredible color and smell of the fresh rhubarb stalks at my neighborhood farmers’ market left me discontented with my ignorance, and so I asked the cooks and kitchen alchemists in my life to help expand my rhubarb horizons. In addition to “Do not, under any circumstances, eat the leaves,” I received some good tips on cooking with rhubarb on the savory end of the spectrum. Try using chopped rhubarb as a sort of New Englander’s answer to tamarind, stewing it with lentils, onion, and bell peppers and seasoning with curry powder, cumin, mustard seeds, and cilantro (I enjoyed this again with a poached egg on top for breakfast the next day). You can also try placing pork chops or chicken thighs on top of rhubarb stalks; once the meat is cooked, the rhubarb should be broken down enough to spread over the meat when served, adding a nice tartness to a savory meal.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell