Savory rhubarb sauce

Rhubarb. (Peter V. Bella)

Rhubarb. (Peter V. Bella)

Rhubarb is mainly used in pies and other pastries and desserts. It can be made into a jelly, jam, or preserves. It can be juiced and cocktails made from it. Many recipes call for combining strawberries with rhubarb.

Rhubarb is very tart which is why strawberries are combined along with sugar.

Rhubarb can be used in savory dishes like stews, sauce for meats, and a sauce with or without meat.

The leaves of rhubarb are toxic and will cause illness or other severe conditions. Remove them and to be safe, remove any stems that had leaves on them.

The sugar is used to balance out the tartness of rhubarb. Taste about half way through cooking and add more sugar a tablespoon at a time until the desired balance is achieved.


One medium onion sliced thin

1 tbsp vegetable oil

One shallot- finely minced

2lbs Rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Juice of one lemon


Coarse ground black pepper


1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup minced flat leaf parsley or 1/3 cup dry parsley

Cayenne or hot chili powder (Optional to taste)


Saute sliced onion until it just starts to turn color (Caramlized onions add another dimension of flavor)

Add rhubarb

Sprinkle liberally with salt and coarse ground black pepper

Add 1/2 cup of water (To keep sugar from sticking to pan)

Add lemon juice

Add 2 tbsp of sugar

Add cinnamon and nutmeg

Add cayenne or hot chili powder if using

Add parsley

Cook over medium heat until bubbling.

Lower heat to low or simmer

Simmer until rhubarb starts to turn tender

Taste and add sugar a tablespoon at a time until tart and sweet are balanced (To taste)

Simmer until rhubarb is fully cooked. It will start to disintegrate and that is normal

Rhubarb releases pectin so the sauce will thicken naturally

Use as a sauce for beef, pork, or lamb. If using for lamb, rosemary or cardamon can be added during cooking.

To make a meat sauce for pasta add 2lbs browned ground beef or bulk Italian sausage when rhubarb starts turning tender. Simmer covered for thirty minutes longer. (Eliminate cinnamon and nutmeg if using sausage and add teaspoon of ground fennel seed or anise)

For stew, brown two pounds of beef, lamb, or pork stew meat. Saute the onions. Add rhubarb and other ingredients. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes.

Here is a recipe for rhubarb barbecue sauce.

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