June 9, 2015
Well, here we are again! Winter is finally over and wonderful live green things are flourishing. We are getting lots of greens this week, and we’re also getting everyone’s most questionable item – rhubarb! I get more questions about what to do with rhubarb than any other vegetable. So, how about a versatile rhubarb recipe that can be used for a variety of dishes? That would be rhubarb butter! In this recipe, the rhubarb butter is used with roast chicken, but you can use it on vegetables, meats, poultry – even fish. I used asparagus in this recipe because it is also in season now, but you can use any vegetable, even the Bok Choi, mustard greens or Chinese cabbage we’re getting this week.
ROAST CHICKEN WITH RHUBARB BUTTER
1 large rhubarb stalk, cut into 1/2” pieces
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 TBS honey
1 TBS finely grated peeled ginger
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 (3 1/2–4-pounds) chicken, backbone removed (the butcher can do this for you, even in the meat department at a supermarket), chicken patted dry
2 TBS olive oil, divided
1 TBS fresh thyme leaves
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
2 lemons, halved
1. Bring rhubarb, orange juice, honey, and ginger to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is soft but not falling apart, about 5 minutes. Drain in a strainer over a small bowl. Set aside the cooking liquid and the rhubarb separately. Allow them to cool..
2. Mix the rhubarb and the butter in a small bowl until smooth, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside 1 tablespoon of rhubarb butter for the vegetables.
3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the chicken, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Gently slide your fingers underneath the skin to loosen it (It’s not as creepy as it sounds. Just do it!) and rub the flesh all over with the rest of the rhubarb butter (try not to tear the skin). Drizzle the chicken with 1 tablespoon oil and some of the reserved rhubarb cooking liquid, scatter the time thyme over the top and season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast the chicken until the skin is browned and crisp and the meat is cooked through (juices will run clear and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh should register 165°F), 40–50 minutes. Let it rest 10 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, preheat a grill to medium high heat, or heat a grill pan over medium-high heat.
6. Toss the asparagus in a large bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the asparagus and the lemons (cut side down), turning the asparagus often, until stalks are just tender, 2–3 minutes. Let the lemon halves cool.
7. Toss the asparagus with the reserved rhubarb butter. Serve the chicken and asparagus with any pan juices drizzled over it. Serve with the grilled lemons for squeezing over the chicken and/or the asparagus.
Note: If you don’t have a grill or grill pan, you can always bake the asparagus in the oven, or saute on the stove top, or even steam it.
HELPFUL HINT: There is a swell culinary trend right now: bacon weaving! It’s easy to do and adds a great visual presentation to many dishes. First, let me say that it’s not for every day. I mean, it’s bacon! I like to make a large one as the top of a quiche or other savory dish. The mini version is great for a BLT or other sandwich. It’s like the potholders we used to make in grammar school for our Moms.
For the full size: You’ll need 12 slices of thin sliced bacon. Line 6 of them up side by side. Take slices 1,3 and 5 and flip them up half way. Place another slice of bacon lying across the front of the remaining three slices. Then flip down the ones you folded, so they cover the new slice.Then do the same with slices 2,4 and 6, adding another slice of bacon across. Then flip the folded slices back down and go back to flipping 1,3 and 5. Continue this way until you’ve used the other six slices of bacon and you’ll have a woven square of bacon. Lift carefully onto a rimmed baking sheet or a rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 300 degrees until done.
The mini version uses just 3 slices of thinly slice bacon. Cut each slice in half, and follow the directions above, using three pieces across. When it’s cooked, it’s great on any kind of sandwich.
Enjoy, and have a delicious week!