Jul 13

Spiced Rhubarb Compote


Spiced Rhubarb Compote

Rhubarb is a thing of legend in the midwest United States, though I believe the English would lay claim to the original discovery of the illustrious vegetable’s potential.  Garrison Keillor, of Prairie Home Companion fame, stated, “Rhubarb pie is the secret of the good life.  A taste of springtime.”  Rhubarb is so woven into the fabric of Minnesotan life that they have a festival each June to celebrate its red-stalked loveliness.  The festival’s agenda includes the singing of the Rhubarb national anthem (I wasn’t aware that Rhubarb had gain independence as a sovereign nation), performances by the Rhubarb Sisters (including “Red Rhubarb for a Blue Lady”), the throwing of the first stalk, the Rhubarb Olympics, rhubarb juggling (including promises of juggling flaming stalks of rhubarb), and a contest for the largest leaf and heaviest stalk. While I did get a kick out of this, I do believe that passion – for rhubarb or anything else that may tickle your fanciful side – is what makes the world go round.   Hear, hear to the rhubarb lovers!

When I visited my favorite local farm stand this weekend, I was happy to pick up some robust stalks of rhubarb.  As I mentioned in my Spiced Rhubarb Chutney post (apparently I like the “spiced” thing), my husband grew up on stewed rhubarb at his grandparents’ farm.  So I knew I could keep it simple with this compote and still receive have his undying devotion.  We spooned this savory, sweet-tart compote over vanilla ice cream last night and we were not disappointed.
Trim 1 1/2 pounds of rhubarb stalks and cut them into 1/2-inch pieces. Place the pieces in a medium bowl.

Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and stir well. 

Let the rhubarb macerate for an hour. All you have to do is let the rhubarb sit on the counter and it will do all the work of releasing its juices.

Pour the rhubarb pieces and juices into a medium pot.

Grind 4 allspice berries in a mortar and pestle and grind to a fine powder. Alternatively, you can put the allspice in a ziploc bag and give them a good whack with a meat mallet.

Add the ground allspice and 1/3 cup water to the rhubarb and set the mixture over medium to medium-high heat.

Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. If the mixture is too thick, you may need to add an additional tablespoon or two of water.

Serve with ice cream, pork, chicken…

Spiced Rhubarb Compote

Other rhubarb recipes:
Andrea’s Recipes’ Rhubarb Margarita
David Lebovitz’s Rhubarb-Berry Jam
La Tartine Gourmande’s Rhubarb & Raspberry Yogurt Ice Pops
Spiced Rhubarb Compote
1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 allspice berries, ground into a fine powder
1/3-1/2 cup water
Place the rhubarb pieces into a medium bowl and stir in the sugar.  Let the rhubarb macerate for 1 hour so that it releases its juices.
Pour the rhubarb pieces and juices into a medium pot.  Stir the ground allspice and  1/3 cup water into the rhubarb.  Set the mixture over medium to medium-high heat.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. If the mixture is too thick, you may need to add an additional tablespoon or two of water.  Scoop the compote into a serving dish.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups compote.
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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miranda July 13, 2009 at 11:32 am

Hey you,
First of all, I left you a blog award at my site….
Second, I have been wanting to cook for Rubarb all summer. It is accessable in OH, but I cannot find it in FL.


2 Cookin' Canuck July 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm

Thank you so much, Miranda! To all of my readers, please check out Miranda's site, too. You won't be disappointed.


3 Mathilde July 13, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Thanks for this great recipe. My husband is not a big fan of rubard but it's been a while I want to cook some. I'll will try your recipe praying for him to change his mind thanks to you!


4 Laura July 13, 2009 at 2:51 pm

I love rhubarb, This is a great recipe very versatile.


5 Maria July 13, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Great way to use rhubarb. I love it!


6 Mixing Bowl Mama July 13, 2009 at 4:27 pm

What a yummy way to use Rhubarb!


7 applecrumbles July 13, 2009 at 6:06 pm

Great way to eat rhubarb. I can taste it now..all hot with icecream melting into the bowl.


8 Angie's Recipes July 13, 2009 at 6:30 pm

My husband loves Rhubarb….haven't tried to make compote with them yet….it must be very appetizing and delicious.

Angie's Recipes


9 Jenn July 13, 2009 at 7:06 pm

That's one of the things I haven't tried yet. And I saw a bundle of them at the farmer's market, too. Now I wish had had gotten them.


10 Cookin' Canuck July 14, 2009 at 3:13 am

Thanks for all of your comments. We're getting ready to top our bowls of vanilla ice cream with another heaping spoonful of the compote.

Angie, it sounds as though your husband should talk to Mathilde's husband.


11 Miranda July 14, 2009 at 1:05 pm

I ment to say cook with rhubarb…
Not for Rhubarb..haha

By the way, did you get my Shrimp Mac and Cheese post sent to you through foodbuzz.com
I was not sure if it went through…


12 Cookin' Canuck July 14, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Miranda, I got your post and just left a comment.


13 Teanna July 14, 2009 at 2:57 pm

I am newly obsessed with rhubarb! That looks like the perfect topping for some vanilla ice cream!


14 Cooking Mama July 16, 2009 at 12:40 am

Here, here to the rhubarb!!! I LOVE this stuff and grew up with it in northern Indiana. We grew it in our garden and my mom was always finding yummy recipes for it to star in. I should share a couple I have with you.

My family is afraid to try rhubarb. :-( They are unwilling guinea pigs . . .er I mean taste testers for this ingredient. I shall make them taste it and they will LIKE it! :-)


15 them apples July 16, 2009 at 11:10 am

The English definitely lay claim to discoverin rhubarb, but really it's of Siberian origin, although it was popularised in Britain by the Victorians. I guess that's how it made it's way over The Pond.

Really, it's the north of England that's famous for rhubarb, and Yorkshire in particular.

Most commercially farmed British rhubarb is grown in a small triangle between Wakefield, Leeds and Bradford.

In Victorian times, rhubarb used to be shipped down to London from Yorkshire each morning on a special train – the Rhubarb Express. It was sold at the great London markets of Covent Garden and Spitallfields and exported all over the Empire.

There's a lot of history behind the humble stalk of rhubarb.


16 Cookin' Canuck July 16, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Cooking Mama, please feel free to pass any rhubarb recipes my way!

Them Apples, what an awesome history lesson. I love the part about the Rhubarb Express. Thanks!


17 Kevin July 16, 2009 at 10:00 pm

Great way to enjoy the rhubarb. I like the sound of the allspice in it!


18 HoneyB July 22, 2009 at 10:02 am

we love rhubarb here – and I finally have some planted this year so I will have my own next year (instead of stealing from my mom's garden!)


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