Before this summer, I had never even purchased rhubarb. I would see those red and green celery type stalks at the farmers market and wonder what people did with them. Week after week I would glance over at them while paying for avocados or squash and finally I decided to take the plunge and make a rhubarb crisp. It was delicious, but with all that lovely sugary topping, I wasn’t sure that I got to know rhubarb really well.
Then I spied a recipe in the NY Times for curried chicken thighs with rhubarb and I was hooked. I love anything with curry, was happy to try rhubarb again and intrigued that it would be used in a savory way. It turns out that this is a dish that I would be happy to eat day after day. The rhubarb melts into the sauce giving it a wonderful, slightly thick texture and there’s that subtle tartness which plays nicely off the slight spice of the dish.
We have wonderful new neighbors and I’ve been planning on taking a dinner over to them. She’s from Australia and he’s from India. Do I dare share this quasi Indian dish with them? I think so. It’s that good!
Curried Chicken Thighs With Ginger and Rhubarb
8 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, diced
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1-4″ piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 pound fresh rhubarb, sliced 1/2″ thick (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Chopped fresh cilantro (for garnish)
Toss chicken legs with 1 teaspoon salt. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add as many thighs as will fit and brown on one side (about 7 minutes), then turn and brown other side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat if necessary.
While the chicken is browning, combine 1 cup onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, vinegar, cayenne, turmeric, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 cup water in a blender and process until smooth.
When chicken is done, add remaining onions and a large pinch of salt. Saute until soft, 5 minutes. Add ginger-garlic paste and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes.
Add coconut milk and 2 cups water and bring to a simmer. Add rhubarb, brown sugar, chicken and any juices that may have accumulated. Bring to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low and simmer gently for a hour, turning pieces about halfway through. Uncover pan, turn chicken again and let simmer, uncovered for 5 minutes.
Serve garnished with cilantro.
Serves: 6 (the original recipe calls for duck legs and I’m sure that would be delicious)