Discovery of a new dish!

Jun 5, 2024

The rhubarb plants lining the edge of my garden are majestic, huge broad leaves of ruby red and green stalks with feathery white blossoms soaring almost eight feet in the air. Alive with tiny pollinators, these blooms make magnificent bouquets. They also signal the time to harvest and enjoy my abundant rhubarb crop.

As a collector of all recipes rhubarb, I was intrigued by Hank Shaw’s blog post for Persian Rhubarb and Venison Stew. After some research, I learned that Khoresh Rivas, or Rhubarb Stew, is a traditional Persian (Iranian) dish. Every family has their own special formula for this delicious preparation of soft and succulent rhubarb with meltingly tender meat in a sweet, sour and tangy sauce.

Although lamb is often the meat of choice, as Shaw suggests, this recipe can be prepared with any meat, including venison, beef, or chicken. The key to its subtle and delicate flavor is in the fresh herbs, copious amounts of both parsley and mint. Fortunately, both are also growing profusely this time of year.

Persian Rhubarb Stew takes about 1½ hours to prepare. Although the steps to make it are quite simple, for the meat to be tender, this is not a recipe to be rushed. For those that think rhubarb is only for desserts or pastries, remember, botanically speaking, rhubarb is a vegetable. A member of the buckwheat family, the first rhubarb cultivar traveled to New England via European settlers. Rhubarb was cultivated in Asiatic countries for many centuries before being introduced to Europe in about 1600.

I can trace the roots of the rhubarb growing here at Rabbit Hill on Crockett Cove back to the family homestead in Norway, Maine, settled by the Ephraim Crockett family in the early 1800’s. In 1765, Josiah Crockett brought his family from Falmouth to Deer Isle and Crockett’s Cove.
I often wonder if when Ephraim, Josiah’s nephew, moved to the banks of Lake Pennesseewassee, he brought the rhubarb plant with him. If so, then this herbaceous perennial growing so abundantly in my garden has returned, and I am quite excited to have discovered a new dish…and a new cuisine.

Need some rhubarb for your garden? Please let me know, I’m happy to share.

Persian Rhubarb Stew

Cheryl Wixson
Servings 6


  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 pound meat lamb, beef, venison, rabbit, chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1 handful parsley
  • 1 handful fresh mint
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or more to taste
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and fresh pepper to taste


  • Assemble ingredients and tools.
  • Chop the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Roughly chop the onion and set aside.
  • Finely chop the parsley and mint. Reserve some mint for garnish.
  • In a medium soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and fry until they start to soften, about 3 minutes.
  • Stir in the turmeric, and then add the meat. Increase the heat to high and stir well to mix. Add 1- tablespoon of sugar and cook for 2 more minutes.
  • Add the water and stock, stirring well. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer the meat until it is done, but not falling apart, about 1 hour.
  • Add the chopped parsley and mint, stirring well. Simmer the mixture for another 15 minutes.
  • While the meat is cooking, heat 1-tablespoon oil in a large fry pan over high heat. Add the rhubarb and sauté for 1 – 2 minutes. Stir in another tablespoon of sugar.
  • Add the rhubarb to the meat in the stew pot. Cover the pot and cook until the rhubarb is soft and broken down, about 10 minutes. Season the stew with sea salt and fresh pepper and a dash more sugar if desired.
  • Serve the stew over white rice and garnish with fresh mint. Makes six servings.

Cheryl's Notes

Nutritional analysis per serving, (approximate, varies with meat): 289 calories, 28 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrates, 13 grams fat, 165 mg. sodium, 2 grams fiber

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