Rhubarb is Nothing to be Chicken About…

rhubarb chickenThis savory rhubarb thing seems to be working.   So, I am going to give it another whirl. But, what next? Let’s see… Rhubarb Chicken?

We did an exotic chutney flavored braise with rhubarb and served it with pork. It’s big exotic flavors were a good match to the robust roasted pork loin. We complimented the natural tang of rhubarb with raisins, ginger and orange zest.

It seemed like an obvious first swat at using rhubarb in a savory way. After all, Indians have been using sweet and sour sauces like chutney with savory foods for centuries; so have the Chinese. So this vaguely Eastern treatment was an easy choice for me.

Next we really pushed hard on the sour nature of rhubarb and pickled some as a garnish on a crunchy, nutty, creamy white asparagus and goat cheese salad. The slightly sweet, but super sour apple cider vinegar really brought out the sharp notes naturally found in rhubarb. And I must say that salad may have been one of the best things I ever made! I am making it again for a dinner party tonight. I have got the rhubarb in the pickling juice as we speak, err well, type!

Rhubarb Chicken and onionsBut today I want to go for a bit more occidental treatment. A “comfort food” sort of treatment. I want to coax that rhubarb into bringing a subtle bit of brightness to a super rich and savory sauce.

We have Marta at Just Call Me Marta to thank for this one! She asked about serving the braised rhubarb and celery with chicken. I am slightly wary of that combo. So I thought I better do something with rhubarb that will bring out chicken’s best qualities, rather than mask them. Which might happen with the braised rhubarb.

So I am going to cook this rhubarb low and slow, with lots of onions and chicken broth. I’ll get a deeply intense, rich sauce with a mild undertone of sweet, sweet, sour tang. I am going to braise this with dark meat chicken. I think I can coax a richness out of the rhubarb that it never even knew it had in it! spices for Rhubarb Chicken

 

Chicken Legs & Thighs Braised in a Savory Rhubarb Onion Sauce

2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1-tablespoon black pepper
1-tablespoon cayenne pepper
1-tablespoon dried oregano
1-tablespoon dried thyme
1/4-cup flour
4 chicken legs with thighs attached
1/4-cup olive
2 pounds rhubarb cut into 1-inch chunks
2 large onion, slivered into sickle shaped slices

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper
6 or 8 fresh thyme sprigs

1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Rhubarb Chicken dredges in spicy flour

Rhubarb Chicken

Combine paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, dried thyme and1/4 flour together in a medium sized bowl and mix together thoroughly.

One at a time dredge the chicken legs and thighs in the flour and spice mixture. Set them aside on a plate as you work.

In a large, heavy pot with a lid heat the olive oil over medium-high until near smoking. Lower the temperature to medium and toss the chicken into the pot. Watch for splattering. The oil is hot!

Brown the chicken for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Then add the rhubarb and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Stirring constantly, wilt and brown the onions, scraping the bottom to loosen the chicken and any browned bits. Keep stirring for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs, and chicken stock. Cover the pot and reduce the heat.

Check on the chicken and stir the pot occasionally. Cook for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender, and its juices run clear. Alternatively you may cook the chicken until the interior temperature reaches 165 degrees F.

Stir in the parsley, and red wine vinegar. Arrange the chicken on a platter over pre-cooked white rice, pouring the thick sauce over the top. Garnish with extra parsley and serve hot.

Rhubarb Chicken and onion sauceAnd doesn’t that picture look scrumptious? Bright red rhubarb with onions and golden chicken!

Well, I feel I have to tell you something.
In this picture, the chicken is still mostly raw and the rhubarb is barely cooked.

I took this picture at the stage where I say: “Brown the chicken for 6 to 8 minutes on each side. Then add the rhubarb and onions. Season with salt and pepper. Stirring constantly, wilt and brown the onions, scraping the bottom to loosen the chicken and any browned bits. Keep stirring for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme sprigs, and chicken stock.”

The next step is: “Cover the pot [and] cook for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender, and its juices run clear.”

I took the picture while the rhubarb was still red and pretty. I knew after 45 minutes or more of slow braising, that rhubarb and those onions would form a mushy brown mess. A perfectly savory, deeply intense, rich and nuanced mushy brown mess. Indeed, a very delicious mushy brown mess!

And I was right… so there is no picture. Because we ate it all!

SERIOUS FUN FOOD

Greg Henry

SippitySup

 



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