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The joy of meandering through the Northwestern Vermont Farmers Market on a Saturday morning is allowing the freshest ingredients to determine what dinner will be that night.
In this case it was the combination of rhubarb with parsley and cilantro plants, which led me to the idea of a fresh, in-season barbecue sauce. Oh, and a case of mistaken identity.
After walking around the farmers market, I needed to go to our town’s little bulk store for olive oil. While I was pouring it into a jar, a woman approached me because she thought I worked there.
“What can you do with dried chipotles?” she asked.
I explained that all you needed to do was rehydrate them with boiling water, and then you can add them to chili, salsa, or even in a sauté.
She seemed happy with my response, and I was even happier because it dawned on me that chipotles would marry perfectly with tart rhubarb. Thank you, other-customer-who-asked-if-I-worked-there! I owe you one.
If you’ve never worked with rhubarb before, just know that you’re working with one of the simplest ingredients you can imagine. Think of it as celery’s textural twin. They’re both watery and a little stringy. But when you rough chop it and place it in water, it will take on the extra water and become soft in a matter of minutes. Easy peasy.
We enjoyed the barbecue sauce on herby chickpea patties, in a flour tortilla. The whole meal is beautiful, and because the patties are baked instead of fried like falafel, it’s pretty healthy, too.
Rhubarb and chipotle barbecue sauce
Yields: 2 cups
1 dried chipotle
2 large rhubarb stalks (2 cups)
1 cup water
1 cup ketchup
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup apple cider vinegar
Place the chipotle in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and let it rehydrate for 15 minutes.
Trim away any discolored spots on the rhubarb, and chop the stalks into 1-inch pieces. Place the rhubarb in a medium saucepan with 1 cup of water and cook over medium heat for 7-9 minutes, or until fork tender. Roughly chop the chipotle, and add to the pan along with a tablespoon of the chipotle water. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature and serve with the chick pea patties or refrigerate for up to 1 week. It can also be frozen for up to 6 months; just let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before the day you want to use it.
Herbed Chickpea Patties
Makes 16 patties
1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (1½ cups) drained and rinsed
½ medium red onion, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup cilantro, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon onion powder
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place all of the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse until mixture is crumbly, but will hold its shape—about 6-8 times.
Divide the mixture into 16, 1½-inch balls and place on a nonstick baking sheet. (Or a regular cookie sheet that’s been lightly greased with olive oil or cooking spray.) Flatten the balls with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, flip and bake for 15 more.
Serve on warmed flour tortillas with lettuce and rhubarb chipotle barbecue sauce.
The Northwestern Vermont Farmers Market
The farmers market is located in Taylor Park in downtown Saint Albans, the shire town of Franklin County, Vermont. It was first established in 1978 and currently has 45 vendors. The vendors include farmers, crafters, and artisanal food sellers.
What do you like to barbecue?