Rhubarb is a bit odd. It’s a thick crunchy stalk like a celery, yet it’s often treated as a fruit and used in desserts. It’s also something of an acquired taste: sour, earthy, and bracingly fresh all at once.
But once you cook it with a little sugar, it yields up an interesting sweetness and becomes tender and silky. Stewed rhubarb is a fine treat served over cool tangy yoghurt or hot porridge for a special breakfast or brunch.
Consider giving it a chance as dessert, too. It’s just a few weeks til Valentine’s day, that overblown pink and red day of love. Forced rhubarb is the prettiest pink and will be at its best at this time of year, so don’t bother with any hard, tasteless berries for your Valentine’s dessert.
… serve with pancakes, waffles, or French toast …
Instead, whip some double cream and stir in some stewed rhubarb for an easy rhubarb fool, spoon it over ice cream, serve with pancakes, waffles, or French toast.
With its wonderfully tart and complex flavour, rhubarb is a welcome contrast to the cloying atmosphere of Valentine’s, and brightens up any day of the year.
This recipe is easily doubled and can be stored in the fridge for several days. Serves 2 – 3 people as an accompaniment.
- . 200g - 300g rhubarb
- . 3 - 5 tablespoons sugar, or to taste. I like a mix of brown and white sugar.
- . Spices and flavourings such as a pinch or two of nutmeg, cinnamon; a few drops of rose water; a fingerful of citrus zest etc
- Wash and trim the rhubarb, paring off any soggy or dry parts. Cut the stalks into 4 cm long pieces.
- Put rhubarb pieces, sugar, and your flavourings of choice into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over a medium heat, then let it cook for about 5 minutes or until juicy, bubbling, and tender right through. Prod the thickest piece with a fork to check.
- Taste a little of the rhubarb and its juices and stir in more sugar if needed. You want a nice bright tang, but you shouldn't wince when you eat it--unless, of course, you like it that way.
- Once the stew is to your taste, use right away or cool and store.