The first spring in our house I was overjoyed to discover rhubarb in the backyard. The house had been purchased in the fall and every week we discovered new flowers and other plants as they emerged from their winter sleep. And we didn’t just have a little rhubarb. There were stalks and stalks of rhubarb, more than I could ever possibly know what to do with.
And it multipies every year. Anyone want some rhubarb?
Still, I try to use it up. I’ve made a lot of strawberry rhubarb pies, crisps, fruit bars, etc. They are all delicious, but every year I search for more rhubarb recipes and new ways of using it. I’ve noticed that most recipes use rhubarb alongside something else, as a partner in flavor. Few recipes are only all about the rhubarb, but this one is.
I was fascinated when I stumbled across Molly Wizenberg’s recipe for rhubarb simply roasted with white wine and vanilla bean. It’s so different from any other rhubarb application I’d seen. My curiosity was piqued and I knew I’d have to try it. Although to save me from an extra trip to the store, I opted to use orange zest in place of the vanilla bean since Molly had good results with it also.
And I absolutely love any recipe that calls for wine because I then have an excuse to pour myself a glass (or two) to enjoy while I’m in the kitchen.
I will admit that I was terrified to try that first bite. I had no idea what rhubarb would taste like all by itself and so I hesitated. But you know what? It was different, unusual, but also quite good. Some pieces were a little overcooked, but the firmer pieces had great flavor and texture (I noted in the recipe below to stir the rhubarb three times instead of two to promote more even cooking and prevent stringy rhubarb). The rhubarb is still quite tart and so I really liked it paired with sweetened whipped cream.
This probably isn’t my most favorite rhubarb recipe, but I did enjoy it. It’s fun and different, and both easy and healthy. It’s also very versatile. You can eat it hot or cold, all by itself, or as a topping on anything from ice cream to cake.
From Molly Wizenberg
Makes 4-6 servings
2 pounds fresh rhubarb, cut into 2 inch slices
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put the rhubarb in a dutch oven or other oven-safe pot. Add orange zest, sugar and white wine and mix. Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to ensure the rhubarb cooks evenly.
Eat warm or cold, with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.