Friday, May 31, 2013

Grilled Shrimp with Cucumber Horseradish Dipping Sauce

Last Year's Post: Pesto Pasta with Edamame, Spinach and Almonds

This is a twist on the classic shrimp cocktail, using grilled shrimp instead of poached and substituting a cucumber horseradish sauce for the usual cocktail sauce.  Grilled shrimp are a great summer food (think 4th of July or Father's Day) that you can choose to make spicy or not by adding a seasoning blend prior to grilling or just keeping it simple with olive oil, salt and pepper.  You can make the cucumber sauce milder or hotter by varying the amount of horseradish to balance and complement the spice level you choose for the shrimp.  We grilled the shrimp with just oil, salt and pepper so I added a considerable amount of horseradish to the sauce, but I think it would be just as good to add a spicy seasoning blend to the shrimp and let the cool cucumber sauce be the counterpoint without any horseradish at all.  You can puree the sauce or leave it slightly chunky as I did here.  It would also be fun to serve the shrimp with both the cucumber sauce and regular cocktail sauce and let people choose their favorite.  Best of all, grilled shrimp are really low in calories.

Served in a mound like this, people just devour shrimp.  As part of my career I've attended quite a few hosted trade show parties and the shrimp are always the first to disappear.  I've found the U16-20 sized shrimp are perfect - they're big enough to be impressive but not so big that they require two bites, which might tempt people to double dip.  If you've ever wondered, "U counts" refer to the number of shrimp in a pound, which translates to their size.  "U16-20" means there will be 16 to 20 shrimp per pound.  I've seen shrimp as large as U5-7 and as small as U30-50.  Larger shrimp are always more expensive.  Here's a tip - for this recipe I compared the price of U16-20 shrimp in a bag in the freezer department to the same size in the glass-front seafood case and found the frozen shrimp to cost a dollar or two less.  Since shrimp thaw in a few minutes under running water, they're a better value frozen.  If you don't need a full bag you can always save the rest for another meal. 

You can also save a little more if you buy shrimp in the shells and peel and devein them yourself.  Pulling little veins out of shrimp is not my favorite activity so I buy them peeled and deveined.  Some people think shrimp have more flavor if they're grilled in the shell and then peeled, but I've tried them both ways and don't think there's much difference in the taste.  Plus, I like the way they look and taste when they come in direct contact with the grate and they're much easier to season or marinate in advance when peeled.  When grilling shrimp, use two skewers instead of one for each row of shrimp.  (I wish I had thought of photographing this step, but it's such second nature to me that I forgot.)  It helps you flip the shrimp over without them spinning around. 

One last thought - horseradish comes in two different styles, creamy and what might be labeled just simply "horseradish" or "extra hot".  The creamy version has already been blended with a mayonnaise-type base so it's good for sandwiches but not right for this type of recipe where you're going to add it to a sauce.  Use regular horseradish instead, which is slightly darker in color and the texture looks like it was grated from horseradish root.  It's stronger than the creamy variety as you would expect, so add it a little at a time and taste as you go.  We found we used the entire 3 tablespoons and it wasn't all that hot, I guess because the heat was tempered by the other cooling ingredients.  Or as I mentioned, leave it out entirely and really crank up the spiciness of the shrimp.  Your choice.

printable recipe
Grilled Shrimp with Cucumber Horseradish Sauce
Serves 4-6

For the sauce:
1 cup shredded unpeeled English cucumber
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain yogurt (not Greek)
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish (not creamy style)
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
For the shrimp:
1 lb large (U16-20) raw peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed if frozen
Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and pepper
Seasoning blend (optional)
Metal or wooden skewers

If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30-60 minutes in advance.

To make the sauce, combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl to blend, adding the horseradish one tablespoon at a time and tasting to adjust the heat to your preference.  Season with salt and pepper.  If you prefer, puree in a food processor for a smoother sauce.  May be made ahead; cover and refrigerate.

Pat the thawed shrimp dry and skewer using double skewers per row of shrimp.  Do not crowd the shrimp on the skewers.  Brush each side of the shrimp lightly with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Optionally, season with your favorite seasoning blend.

Preheat a grill to high, then lower the heat to medium.  Grill the shrimp for 2 minutes per side, flipping once.  Remove from the skewers and serve with the dipping sauce.

Friday, May 24, 2013

French Rhubarb Tarts

Last Year's Post: Scandinavian Muesli

We just returned from two weeks in France, which was very inspirational from a food standpoint.  Although all the food was delicious, the breads, cheeses and pastries were absolutely the best.  Looking at all the pastries in the shops was fun even without eating them because they're all so beautiful. I was making a list of new blog ideas throughout the trip, excited to try them all out. I thought I would start by celebrating France and springtime together with rhubarb tarts from La Bastide Odeon Restaurant in Paris.

What I like about this recipe is how beautiful the tarts are, as well as their intense rhubarb flavor. I love rhubarb, but I've been disappointed with other rhubarb tart and pie recipes in the past because they seemed somewhat bland. These tarts have the double whammy of a pile of tender rhubarb pieces as well as intense rhubarb syrup.  The rhubarb is placed on top of a flaky puff pastry circle with a thin layer of sweetened ricotta cheese, so you have the contrasts of sweet-tart-flaky-creamy all in a dessert that tastes surprisingly light.

The tarts aren't difficult to make (they only have six ingredients) but they look so darn impressive. I read a review of the recipe where someone stated they used red food coloring to make the rhubarb and sauce the "right color". Say what?  Just make sure you buy nice red rhubarb in the first place.  No food coloring here!

You start by cooking the rhubarb the day prior to serving, which I always like because it's one more thing out of the way in advance.  The rest of the cooking can be done an hour in advance so you can do that before your guests arrive.  Then all you need to do is assembly work when ready to serve. A little sprig of mint and a dusting of confectioner's sugar is really all you need as a garnish, although La Bastide Odean serves the tart with almond ice cream.  To me that seems like gilding the lily, but to each his own.

The rhubarb actually goes through a double cooking process. First you simmer the rhubarb and some brown sugar together until the rhubarb pieces are tender, then you drain the rhubarb pieces over a bowl (to catch the syrup) and refrigerate overnight.

The next day you cut and bake the puff pastry circles, broil the rhubarb pieces with a little sugar, and reduce the syrup. I adapted the recipe slightly by using an easier technique for baking the puff pastry and by shrinking the size of the tarts from 6" to 5" because it seemed about right to me.  I rummaged around in drawers and cabinets, trying out various saucers and bowls until I found the right size bowl to use as a guide for cutting the puff pastry circles.

If you put a second baking sheet on top of the puff pastry when it bakes, it comes out nice and flat and golden. (I forgot to take a picture of them after they get baked a second time with the ricotta on top, sorry.)

The rhubarb gets broiled while the sauce reduces to a deep red and thick wonderfulness.

All this gets done in advance so it has time to cool.  When you're ready to serve, just pile the rhubarb on the tarts and drizzle with syrup.

Add your garnish (go very light on the confectioners sugar so you don't cover up that beautiful red rhubarb color) and serve to oohs and aahs.

printable recipe

French Rhubarb Tarts
Serves 4

1 lb rhubarb, sliced ½” thick (the reddest you can find)
1 ¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons packed golden brown sugar
1 sheet (half of a 17.3 ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 egg, beaten
Mint sprigs and additional powdered sugar for garnish, optional

Make Ahead:  combine rhubarb and 1 ¼ cups brown sugar in a large saucepan.  Cook over low heat until syrup forms and rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, stirring occasionally, about 35 minutes.  Pour rhubarb mixture into a sieve set over a bowl.  Cover sieve and bowl and chill rhubarb and juices overnight.

Day of:  Preheat oven to 400d.  Roll out the puff pastry sheet on floured surface to a 12 inch square.  Using a 5” diameter plate or bowl as a guide, cut four pastry rounds.  Place rounds on ungreased baking sheet and cover with parchment paper and a second baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes and remove, maintaining oven temperature.

Remove the top baking sheet and parchment paper from the pastry rounds.  Blend ricotta and powdered sugar in a bowl.  Brush each crust with egg glaze.  Leaving a ½” plain border, spread ¼ of the mixture on each crust.  Bake tartlets again until topping is set, about 10 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Preheat broiler.  Pour rhubarb syrup into a small saucepan and boil about 8 minutes, until slightly thickened; cool (syrup will thicken further as it cools).  Spread the rhubarb pieces ¾” thick on a rimmed baking sheet covered with foil.  Sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and broil for about 4 minutes, until the top is browned in spots.  Cool.

Pastry, syrup and rhubarb may be made up to one hour in advance.  Let stand at room temperature. 

When ready to serve, spoon rhubarb over tartlets and drizzle with syrup.  Garnish with mint sprigs and a light dusting of powdered sugar if desired.  Serve immediately.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Sausage Sliders with Broccoli Rabe Pesto

Last Year's Post: Jewels of Spring

Broccoli rabe is very trendy with chefs right now, as are pretzel rolls.  I won't get started regarding what I think about the originality (or lack thereof) of some of the new young chefs, but it's a safe bet that any hot new restaurant you walk into will have at least three things - pork belly something-or-other, big bad microbrews, and house-made charcuterie in some form.  I think it's the pork belly and charcuterie (prepared meat products like sausage) that have in turn caused the popularity of broccoli rabe because they go so well together - the bitter greens balance and cut through the fattiness/spiciness of the pork or sausage.  And they all go together with those big hoppy microbrews.

Anyway, I've seen enough versions of that particular trend that I decided to create my own version using spicy Italian turkey sausage, provolone, broccoli rabe pesto and mini pretzel rolls. The broccoli rabe pesto is a fairly unique rendition of the vegetable created by The Publican,  one of the aforementioned hot new restaurants in Chicago.  And why sliders rather than full-sized sandwiches?  The rational answer would be that these are all really big flavors so putting them in smaller packages makes sense.  The real answer is because sliders are really hot right now also, so I decided to go all in with my trip to Trendyland.

Here's a quick intro to broccoli rabe:  also called rapini or broccoli raab, it consists of spiky leaves and small heads of florets that look somewhat like broccoli.   Wikipedia describes the flavor as "nutty, bitter and pungent". (In my opinion that might be a little overly dramatic. It's slightly bitter with a taste similar to kale or spinach.) In Italian cooking it's often sauteed with garlic and a few crushed red peppers to serve along pork ribs or sausage (do I detect a theme here?). 

For the pesto, the broccoli raab is briefly cooked in hot water to set the bright green color, then shocked and drained, chopped, and cooked low and slow with a little olive oil, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes until  soft.  The final step is to coarsely puree to a pesto consistency.

About the red pepper flakes - the original recipe called for an entire teaspoon, but the pesto is paired with prosciutto in the original recipe which is a mild, sweet meat. I cut the red pepper in half since I was using spicy sausage.  We were happy with the results - I would call the sliders spicy but not overly so.  Depending on your spice tolerance you may want to start with an even smaller amount of red pepper because you can always add more later.  And about the spicy sausage - you could of course use mild Italian turkey sausage or your favorite variety of pork sausage instead.

The rest of the recipe is really easy - just shape and cook the sausage patties, melt some cheese on top, and assemble.

You can think of the sliders as appetizers, dinner, or party food but don't call them that because it would reveal that you are several iterations behind the trendy curve.  They are now called "Small Plates" when served 2 or 3 at a time and "Plates for Sharing" when served in larger quantities.  (Clearly I've been hanging out in a few too many trendy restaurants lately.)

The Lawyer and I really enjoyed the sliders and yes, they were particularly good with a beer. Apparently the chefs know what they're doing.

Here's how to complete your own personal trip to Trendyville:
1.Have one or both arms tattooed from shoulder to wrist.
2.Assuming you don't already have one, build a nice large rooftop patio on your house complete with speakers and a large flat screen showing old cartoons with the sound turned off.
3.Make a trip to the store to buy several types of hoppy local microbrews with whimsical names, preferably angry ones.
4.Make your sliders.
5.Invite your hippest friends over.  They will see you in a whole new light.  Guaranteed.

printable recipe

Sausage Sliders with Broccoli Rabe Pesto
Makes 10 sliders, approximately 2 ounces each

Note:  Depending on your preference for spiciness, you may want to start with the lower amount of red pepper flakes especially if you are using spicy sausage.

 1 lb broccoli rabe, about one bunch
6 garlic cloves, smashed
¼ cup olive oil
¼ - ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (see note)
½ cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 teaspoons honey
19.75 ounce package hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
10 slices provolone cheese, cut to fit your slider buns
10 slider buns (white, wheat or pretzel)

For broccoli rabe pesto:  Cook broccoli rabe in a large pot of boiling water until bright green, about 30 seconds; drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Drain again and pat with a clean towel to dry.  Cut into 1” pieces.

In the same large pot, combine the oil, garlic, red pepper flakes and broccoli rabe.  Cover and cook over low heat, stirring often, until the broccoli rabe is very soft, about 40-50 minutes.  Transfer to a food processor and pulse to a rough pesto consistency.  Let cool slightly, then mix in Pecorino and honey.  (Pesto can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and chilled.)

For sliders:  Form the sausage into 10 small patties.  Cook either on a grill or in a frying pan with a small amount of olive oil until browned and fully cooked through, 3-4 minutes per side.  During the last seconds of cooking time put a piece of cheese on each patty to melt.  While the patties are cooking, spread some broccoli rabe pesto on both sides of the buns.  Assemble buns with sausage patties.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Orzo and Radicchio Salad

Last Year's Post: Pan Bagnat

This is a different kind of salad in the best sense of the word.  First of all, orzo and radicchio are not the most common ingredients in the world.  (The check-out guy at the grocery store actually picked up the head of radicchio and asked me, "what is this little dude"?)  Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that acts as the neutral binder for all the other big flavors in this salad - slightly bitter and crunchy radicchio and arugula, salty feta, toasty pine nuts, sweet tomatoes, and spicy radishes.  A tart lemon dressing is the finishing fresh touch.

The salad is hearty enough to be a meal on its own if you're looking for a vegetarian entrée (The Lawyer actually mentioned that and I agree).  Or, its bold flavors stand up very well to any kind of grilled meat - burgers, chicken, steak or ribs are a perfect match.  Plus, the salad is served at room temperature so it's ideal for picnics or any other summer gathering and can easily be doubled for larger gatherings.  As I'm writing this I'm thinking of my friend Karrine, who entertains almost every weekend all summer at her lake home.   Hi Karrine - try it out and let me know what you think!  It has lots of delicious veggies so it's very healthy also.

So, about radicchio - you'll find it near the cabbages in the produce aisle. As I mentioned, it's crunchy and slightly bitter, which I really like.  If you want to mellow the bitterness a little and add some smoky flavor at the same time, you can grill the radicchio prior to chopping it for the salad.  It's really easy - just cut the radicchio into wedges (through the core so the leaves stay attached), brush with a little olive oil, and grill on the cut sides until grill marks appear.

Before grilling, brushed with olive oil
After grilling
You don't want to grill it to death, you just want grill marks and a very slight amount of wilting - just a minute or two per cut side.  Or, don't grill it at all and just chop it for the salad - it's up to you.

About the greens in the salad - they're not THE main component as in a lettuce salad, but they're one of the three main components including radicchio and orzo. You can use either arugula or spinach.  I actually found a bag of mixed baby spinach and arugula at the store that worked perfectly.

With all the bold flavors this is definitely a big boy/big girl salad.  If you have munchkins they probably won't like it unless they have pretty sophisticated palates.  Of course, I've seen kids at sushi restaurants chowing down on raw fish, so what do I know?  Make it even if they won't like it. I mean, really.  Parents shouldn't have to be relegated to a steady diet of mac and cheese and hot dogs just because they have kids.  Give them some jello or something while you eat your nice salad.  I'm just sayin'.

printable recipe

Orzo and Radicchio Salad
Serves 6

 Note:  the salad can be made 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature.  Leftovers may be chilled, but for entertaining purposes the salad is best when fresh and not refrigerated.

 8 ounces orzo
¼ cup fresh lemon juice plus 1 lemon cut into 6 wedges
¼ cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely minced
½ small head radicchio
1/3 cup roasted tomatoes (or ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes), chopped
4-5 radishes, thin sliced
4 cups baby arugula or spinach, coarsely chopped
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese

 Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook orzo according to directions; drain well.  While the orzo is cooking, whisk together the ¼ cup lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper in a large bowl. Add the hot orzo to the dressing and toss.  Let orzo come to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

 The radicchio may be cored and coarsely chopped fresh, or it may be grilled prior to coring and chopping.  If you choose to grill the radicchio, cut the half head into two pieces through the core and lightly brush with olive oil on both cut sides.  Grill over medium heat for a minute or two on each of the cut sides, just long enough to wilt slightly and produce grill marks.  Core and chop.

 When the orzo has cooled to room temperature, add all the remaining ingredients except the feta cheese and toss well.  Add the feta and toss gently to combine.  Taste and adjust seasonings. 

 Serve at room temperature with lemon wedges to squeeze over the salad.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Venetian Shrimp and Scallops

Last Year's Post: Chicken Salad with Fruits and Peppadews

This dish has a tomato-saffron sauce that is absolutely delicious with the tender scallops and shrimp.  (Be sure to serve it with lots of crusty bread for mopping up the sauce.)  It's very light, fresh and healthy with fragrant lemon zest and fresh basil, making it a perfect spring or summer seafood dinner. I can usually pretty well envision how a dish will taste just from reading the recipe, but I must say this one surprised me by just how insanely good it was the first time I made it.  It's become a regular repeater at our house, which only happens to the very best recipes since we like to try new ones so often.  If you like seafood you really should try it.

Saffron is a key ingredient in the flavor profile and the recipe won't be the same without it (ditto the lemon and fresh basil).  Crumble the saffron threads as you put them in the sauce for more flavor and more even distribution.  Someone gave me a teeny-tiny mortar and pestle for that very purpose several years ago.  I think it's hilarious because it's so small but I must admit it works great.  I've never seen them in any store and have no idea where it came from.  Don't you just love it?

I typically cut the scallops in half horizontally for this recipe, for a couple of reasons.  First of all, scallops should not be over-cooked or they get tough.  Since sea scallops are often really big, it's harder to be sure they're cooked all the way through without over-cooking them.  Cutting them in half results in a faster cook time, plus they're easier to eat and you have more of them in the dish.  I think five or six thinner scallops look much more attractive and plentiful (along with the shrimp) then two or three giant ones.  Searing them gives an attractive color, a nice caramelized crust, and additional flavor.

One thought about the diced tomatoes - I almost always use fire-roasted tomatoes because I think it adds a little more flavor and I like the little black flecks.  It's strictly a personal preference, but I would suggest checking the sodium content of whatever brand you choose because canned tomato products are notoriously high in sodium.  Same thing for the chicken broth.

This is a fast and easy meal to prepare so it's perfect for any night of the week, although I think it's certainly impressive enough to serve to company.

printable recipe
Venetian Shrimp and Scallops
Serves 4

¾ lb sea scallops, cut in half horizontally
¼ cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes with juice
¼ teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
¾ lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
12 leaves fresh basil, shredded or torn
1 lemon, zested
Hot crusty bread

Lightly coat the sea scallops in the seasoned flour.  Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil and butter.  When the butter has melted, add the scallops and brown for 1 minute on each side.  Remove.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan if necessary, then add the garlic, shallots, and crushed red pepper flakes.  Reduce heat and sauté 2 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add wine to the pan and scrape up any pan drippings.  Reduce wine 1 minute, then add chicken broth, tomatoes with their juice, and crumbled saffron.  When liquids come to a bubble, add shrimp and cook 3 minutes.  Return scallops to the pan and cook everything together for 2 minutes longer.  Transfer shrimp, scallops and sauce to individual shallow bowls and top with basil and lemon zest.

Pass with bread for mopping up the juices.

Jewels of Spring

I can hardly wait for the farmer's markets to open every spring.  Not only do I love the fresh fruits and vegetables, I'm also always on the lookout for a new variety or an unfamiliar food to try.  My local market has a lot of fruits and vegetables that you won't find in any store - I just ask the grower what they are, what they taste like, and how to cook them.  Most are very accommodating and will even give you a taste.  It's a great way to expand your horizons.  We also like to visit farmer's markets when we travel -  they're great photo ops as well as interesting places to buy local items to bring home.  (The picture at the top of my blog is from the market in Aix-en-Provence, France.)

Two of my spring favorites are familiar to everyone - asparagus and rhubarb.  I discovered a great recipe for an elegant Asparagus Soup that I want to share.  Since that's such a classic dish, I decided to feature something a little more off-the-wall for rhubarb than your typical muffin or crumble.  How about Chicken with Rhubarb Sauce?  Now that's different, as they say in the midwest.

First the asparagus soup - thickened with leek, zucchini and potato, it has a more complex flavor and is healthier than a cream of asparagus soup.  It's a really easy recipe if you have thin asparagus, otherwise you peel the stalks which takes a long time.  Try to avoid that unless you're feeling a need to be punished for something.

If you have a lot of asparagus or your asparagus is too thick for the soup recipe, check my blog archive at left for April (Asparagus Tart), January (Chicken and Asparagus Stir-Fry) and March (Spring Risotto) for other ideas.

On to the chicken with rhubarb sauce - boneless chicken thighs (or boneless skinless breasts if you prefer) flavored with orange, ginger, sherry, honey, cardamom and rhubarb. I served it over white rice and topped it with some fresh pea shoots I found at the market for fun.

* * click here for a printable Asparagus Soup recipe * *

Asparagus Soup
Serves 4 to 6

Note: potato and zucchini help thicken the soup and give it a creamy texture without any cream.

2 lb (two bunches) thin asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, sliced and washed
1 large potato, peeled and cut into large dice
3 cups chopped zucchini (about 2 large)
4 cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper

Trim the woody ends off the asparagus, then cut off the tips and reserve. If your asparagus is thin there’s no need to peel the stalks, otherwise they should be peeled to ensure the fibrous exterior doesn’t get in the soup. Cut the stalks into 1 to 2 inch pieces and set aside.

Bring some water to boil in a saucepan, add the asparagus tips, reduce the heat and simmer covered for 4 minutes. Remove from the water and immediately immerse the tips in ice water to stop cooking. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and sauté the leek for a few minutes. Add the potato, zucchini and asparagus stalks and continue to sauté for a few more minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Puree the soup in a blender, working in small batches to prevent an explosion of hot liquid, and return to the soup pot. Taste and adjust salt and pepper, then add asparagus tips and bring to a simmer again before serving.

* * click here for a printable Chicken with Rhubarb Sauce recipe * *

Chicken with Rhubarb Sauce
Serves 4 to 6

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or can substitute chicken breasts)
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, fineloy chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
½ cup dry sherry
1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
¼ cup honey
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice (from about 1 medium)
1 pound rhubarb stalks, medium dice

Preheat oven to 375d.

Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Place half the chicken thighs in the skillet and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. Remove and repeat with the other half of the chicken.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the shallots, ginger, and cardamom. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until the shallots are soft, about two minutes. Pour in the sherry, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits, and reduce the liquid by half (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the chicken stock, honey, and orange juice and stir. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices to the pan, turn the chicken to coat, and bring to a boil.

Place the pan in the oven and cook until the sauce is vigorously bubbling around the sides and the chicken is cooked, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven, scatter the rhubarb pieces between and around the chicken, and return the pan to the oven until the rhubarb is knife tender, about 15 minutes more.