When Essex Farm, my sensational CSA, delivered a fat bundle of rhubarb stalks in the midst of a crazy-busy week,  I employed my super fast, super simple rhubarb recipe. It results in a rustic, velvety rhubarb stew that is divine as is with heavy cream, creme fraiche, ice cream or yogurt; sandwiched between Foolproof Cream Biscuits with whipped cream for a lovely rhubarb shortcake; as a topping for pancakes; or a surprising flavor to blend with strawberry ice cream into a strawberry-rhubarb milkshake. Fifteen minutes of work yields a quart to have on hand…Here’s how to make it.

Method: Fast and Furious, Delish Rhubarb Stew 

Rinse and drain a large handful or two of rhubarb stalks.
>>2 pounds of rhubarb, will yield 8 to 10 cups, 3 to 4 cups cooked.
I like to use my trusty over-the-sink colander, which allows me to prep food without having to clear out the dishes in the sink. Note: rhubarb can range in color from red to sour apple green, which was how Essex’s was.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Cut off and discard the cut ends, then slice the stalks crosswise into 1 to 2-inch chunks.

Measure the fruit. Figure approximately 1/2 to 3/4 cup sweetener such as honey, agave or sugar per 4 cups cut fruit. Honey will give a more fragrant syrup, but when I’m low on it I mix it with sugar or use all sugar, which gives a more acute rhubarb flavor.

Add the sweetener to a large shallow pan (I use All-Clad 7406 MC2 Master Chef 13.5″ 6-quart Saute Pan. Because it is wide and shallow, it allows the abundant juices to reduce and concentrate easily; it also holds A LOT, in this case about 12 cups of fruit.) Use a vegetable peeler to strip the zest from a Meyer lemon, or a few strips from a regular lemon and/or orange. Add it to the sweetener, along with a few tablespoons of water or white wine if you have some open.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Set the pan over high heat, and stir until dissolved and you have a thick, bubbly syrup.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Add the rhubarb and cook, tossing and stirring occasionally.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

As it cooks, the rhubarb will release lots of juices, which will mix with the syrup, reducing as it cooks.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Cook until the rhubarb is a soft, thick stew with many tender chunks. Taste; add more sugar if too tart, lemon juice if too sweet. The zest will most likely have candied and can be left in to eat. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Depending on its uncooked color, the cooked rhubarb will fade and mute.

Sally Schneider
Sally Schneider

Eat some right away while it is warm.

Transfer to a clean vessel, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve cold, room temperature or warm. A drizzle of cream will make the homely, delicious stew look rather charming.

It is swell with sea salt whipped cream

sea salt whipped cream
Sally Schneider

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4 replies on “Rhubarb Season: A Fast Delish Stew, and more…

  1. Sally, I’d love to know what brand/model of pan you’re using there (or what you recommend as a general all-purpose pan for such occasions) – we recently had to toss our last pan and are in need of new ones, and I find myself awash in options!

  2. Hi, Sorry to take so long to get back to you; I’ve been traveling

    That’s an All-Clad MC2 Master Chef 13.5″ 6-quart Saute Pan I bought years ago. It is pricey, but indestructible. Because copper is sandwiched between aluminum (outside) and stainless steel (inside), nothing scorches or burns. The extreme width makes it perfect for sauting lots of vegetables at once, cooking juicy fruits where you want the liquid to evaporate quickly, and browning meats. It comes with a lid. You can find it here:

    All-Clad 7406 MC2 Master Chef 13.5″ 6-quart Saute Pan

  3. Thanks Sally! I’m putting that on the wishlist now 🙂

  4. All-Clad seems a bit pricey but are built like tanks. And they have a lifetime warranty (Which the company honors; I’ve used it for the nonstick since NO nonstick can hold up over years, and they sent me a new pan. But I have abandoned those altogether due to health concerns.)
    I use the tri-ply All-Clad daily, and the pots I’ve had are 15-20 years old…not signs of wearing out.

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