It’s been a tough spring so far, for gardening. We had a long, cold, wet spring and the summer has been very wet also. This year we had decided, in place of a CSA share we would rent a plot in the community garden and grow some of our own vegetables. Due to all the rain, we go the garden in late and since then haven’t been able to work on it very much. With storms rolling through the area, on average, every other day, the ground has not gotten dry enough to work, especially the clay based soil found in so much of our area. In fact, at least twice when I went to try and get some work done the entire garden was under 1-2″ of standing water. Needless to say the plants are looking rather weak and pathetic and I think most of the seeds we have planted have rotted in the ground. While the cool, wet spring has wrecked havoc on our garden our rhubarb has grown to giant proportions. Just check out the picture below.

Not that I’m complaining about that!! As is evidenced by the number of rhubarb based recipes on this blog, I love rhubarb and am always trying to come up with ways in incorporate it into my meals. The other day, as I was trying to come up with new uses for rhubarb I thought that it would make a wonderful addition to a sweet and sour stir fry, so I created the recipe below. I’m not really handy when it comes to making, let alone experimenting with Chinese food, and most of my forays, with exceptions, into this cuisine turn out “okay.” They aren’t failures but I usually wouldn’t consider most of them some of my best work, but I think I hit a home run with this one. My wife, usually somewhat lukewarm, in her praise of my Chinese cooking abilities raved about this dish, so hopefully I have a winner here. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Chicken Rhubarb Stir Fry
serves 4

2 cups Rhubarb
1/2 cup Sugar
1 Tbl. Water

1 pound Chicken breast, boneless, skinless, cut into thin strips
1 small Onion, peeled and sliced 1/4″ think
1/2 cup Carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias 1/4″ thick
1/2 pound Snow Peas, strings removed
1 small head Broccoli, cut into bite sized flowerets
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, julienne
1 Tbl. Fresh Ginger, peeled and minced
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar
2 Tbl. Soy Sauce
1 tsp. Corn starch
Vegetable oil
1/8 tsp. Sesame Oil, roasted (optional)

Slice the rhubarb, on a bias, into 1/4″ thick slices.

Combine with sugar and water, in sauce pan and cook over medium heat until just barely tender, about 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly in the beginning so that the sugar doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile combine the rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, corn starch, and sesame oil (if using), in a bowl and set aside.

Heat a wok, or large sauté pan, over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, heat, then add the chicken. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes if sliced thinly. Remove from wok and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of oil and cook the carrots and onions for 3 minutes, over high heat, stirring constantly so that they don’t brown. Add the broccoli and cook another 2-3 minutes. Finally add the snow peas, red bell pepper, ginger and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes longer, stirring constantly to ensure the garlic and ginger don’t burn.

Return the chicken to the wok and heat for one minute. Add the rhubarb, along with the liquid it was cooked in, along with the vinegar-soy sauce mixture. Cook until sauce thickens and everything is warmed through.

Serve over rice and enjoy!!!!