Rhubarb is one of those foods that can go either way. Rhubarb sweetened with a little sugar makes one of my very favorite pies, but its tart earthy flavor lends itself to savory dishes as well. Here are two recipes to help you appreciate both sides of this versatile vegetable (that’s right, it’s not a fruit)!

Savory Skillet Chicken with Rhubarb

from Melissa Clark / The New York Times

Ingredients:

  • 1 (5 1/2-pound) whole chicken, cut into eight pieces
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, more as needed
  • 5 sprigs thyme, preferably lemon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch spring onions or scallions, white and light green stalks thinly sliced (slice and reserve greens for garnish)
  • 2 stalks green garlic, thinly sliced, or 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¾ pound fresh rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon honey, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Directions:

  1. Pat chicken dry and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Place in a bowl with the thyme sprigs and cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove thyme from bowl with chicken, reserving thyme. Add chicken pieces to skillet and sear, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Transfer pieces to a platter.
  3. Reduce heat to medium. Stir in onion (white and light green parts) and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and reserved thyme; cook 1 minute more. Stir in wine and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits in the bottom of pan. Add rhubarb, honey, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper.
  4. Return chicken pieces to pot in a single layer. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes for breasts and 20 to 25 minutes for legs and thighs, transferring chicken pieces to a platter as they finish cooking.
  5. Whisk butter into rhubarb sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Spoon sauce over chicken and garnish with sliced onion greens.

Sweet Rhubarb Foccaccia

from Melissa Clark / The New York Times

Ingredients:

  • 1 ball focaccia dough (see recipe)
  • 5 ounces thinly sliced rhubarb(about 1 1/2 cups)
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon demerara (raw) sugar

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, toss rhubarb and granulated sugar. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until fruit releases its juices and sugar dissolves, 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Strain rhubarb juices into a small pot and reserve rhubarb. Simmer juices over moderate heat until thick and syrupy, about 3 minutes. Pour olive oil into bottom of a 9×13-inch baking pan. Pat dough evenly into pan, leaving a small gap between dough and edges of pan. Dough should be about a half-inch thick. Scatter rhubarb over dough; brush generously with syrup. Sprinkle top with demerara sugar. Bake until focaccia is golden brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

So which do YOU prefer – sweet or savory? I love them both!