Braised Chicken in Sweet and Sour Rhubarb Sauce

If you have only had rhubarb in pies and cobblers, you should branch out and try adding it to the main course.  Today’s recipe was chosen by Culinary Adentures with Camilla for week 10 of the Food Matters Project. The original recipe is Braised Fish in Rhubarb Sauce from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, where white fish is cooked in a carmely/lime/rhubarb sauce. Instead of fish, I decided to use this recipe to make a natural sweet and sour chicken dish using rhubarb as the sour and honey as the sweet. Unfortunately, rhubarb has not quite hit the markets yet, but luckily I had some frozen and tucked away from my rhubarb crop last year.

While most rhubarb you see in the grocery stores and markets are a beautiful red, I unknowingly bought a green and a red variety of rhubarb to plant in my garden.  Rhubarb, like asparagus, is a  perennial plant, coming back year after year to give you great tart goodness.  The stalk of the rhubarb plant is edible, while the leaf is poisonous.  Because rhubarb plants love sun, be sure to plant them in a good sunny well drained area that will not be disturbed.  You will not be dissappointed. You can freeze the rhubarb by cutting the stalk into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces and freezing them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen, place them in a ziploc bag for future use.  In today’s recipe, I used frozen green rhubarb from last years crop.

Because of rhubarb’s pucker power, it needs to be balanced with some sweetness….honey.   I also added the juice of two oranges to balance out the sauce.  The result…awesome and healthy! I loved that it was not loaded down with artificial flavors and processed sugar.  It was fresh and healthy. However, as far as looks go….it would never win a beauty contest. My rhubarb is green….so the sauce looked a bit like green mash.  I only added 2 tablespoons of honey, which was enough for me…..but I think my husband would have preferred it to be more on the sweet side and less on the sour side. But that’s why he has me…I’m sweet enough for everything. (BAH!)

So even if your guests or kids sneer their nose at the site of the slime chicken you are serving (I know I’m selling this dish to you guys, no wonder I’m an engineer and not a salesman), once they taste it…seriously….they will be suprised.

You can use rhubarb in recipes that you would likely also use pineapple. This sauce would be great on pork too.

Check out what the recipes that the FMP food bloggers came up with here. Happy Monday!

Braised Chicken in Sweet and Sour Rhubarb Sauce (adapted from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook)

Serves 4

Prep/Cook Time: 30 minutes


  • 1 cup of diced rhubarb (frozen or fresh)
  • juice of 2 oranges (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (or more depending on level of sweetness you prefer)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of fine ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or grapeseed oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb of chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped cilantro


  1. Place rhubarb, juice of oranges, and honey in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir often and cook for 5 to 10 minutes (do not scorch) or until rhubarb appears mushy and pureed. Stir in ginger and pepper. Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile in a medium skillet, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions once coconut oil is completely melted. Saute onions for 5 minutes, or until slightly brown and transluscent. Add chicken and cook until browned on all sides.
  3. Add rhubarb sauce, lower heat to low, and simmer chicken and rhubarb sauce for a 5 minutes, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with cilantro.