We always get excited when rhubarb season comes along - these flavorful stalks are a sign that spring is truly here, and its tart deliciousness is a welcome addition to all sorts of recipes. Here are a few to get your creative juices flowing!
Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote
Because it's very tart, rhubarb is always cooked with sugar or other sweetener. It is often combined with red fruits, such as strawberries or raspberries, to enhance the color and complement the flavor.
1½ pounds rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces (about 5 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 strip orange peel
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered (or substitute whole raspberries)
1 piece (1 inch) fresh peeled ginger, finely grated
Stir together rhubarb and sugar in a large saucepan (off heat); let stand until rhubarb releases some liquid, at least 10 minutes. Transfer 1/3 of rhubarb to a bowl; reserve.
Bring rhubarb mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat; simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb has broken down but some whole pieces remain, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved rhubarb and cook another 3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 20 minutes.
Stir in strawberries or raspberries. Place ginger in a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl. Press down firmly with a spoon until juices are released (to yield about 1 teaspoon). Discard solids. Stir ginger juice into rhubarb mixture.
Let sauce cool completely before serving over ice cream, yogurt, or pound cake, or using to make parfaits with whipped cream.
Rich Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
4 to 6 tablespoons sugar
2/3 cup sour cream
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
toasted coconut or candied ginger, for serving
Make whipped cream: In a large bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, gradually add sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in sour cream and vanilla extract.
Fill glasses or serving dishes with ½ cup Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote; dollop with whipped cream and sprinkle with toasted coconut, if desired.
Pork Chops with Rhubarb-Cherry Sauce
The rhubarb sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week. Try it with roasted chicken or drizzled over toasted bread topped with goat cheese.
½ cup dried cherries or cranberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup finely chopped onion or shallot
8 to 10 ounces rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces (2 cups)
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of ground nutmeg (optional)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
4 pork loin chops, (each 1/2 inch thick and 6 to 8 ounces)
In a small bowl, combine cherries with vinegar and 1/4 cup hot water; let stand 10 minutes to soften.
In a small saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-low heat. Add onion; cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
To the saucepan, add cherry mixture, rhubarb, and sugar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until rhubarb has softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Stir in nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; keep warm.
Generously season both sides of pork chops with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Cook pork (in two batches, if necessary, to avoid crowding the pan) until browned and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve topped with warm sauce.
The cherries can be replaced with other dried fruit, such as dried cranberries; soften as instructed in step 1.
Recipes provided by Abigail Chipley, HFM board member.