Oh! I Have a Recipe For: Rhubarb Compote (Skip the Strawberries)

Rhubarb Compote Recipe

In this column, Scout contributor and food enthusiast Maciel Pereda shares her personal recipes aimed at solving everyday cooking conundrums. Possibilities are endless, ingredients are local, and cravings are always respected. Today Maciel shares her recipe for …Rhubarb Compote

First of all, a disclaimer: I am not here to tell you some complete foolishness like, “I prefer my rhubarb without strawberries”. No, no, no, that’s certainly not what I’m saying. I just feel like some people – certainly not everyone, but a high enough proportion of people – only buy rhubarb in order to cover it up with strawberries because they actually only want to eat strawberries. And while I’m absolutely, 100% here for some strawberry-rhubarb pie when the time rolls around for orders to be taken, I also wish people would give rhubarb the opportunity to shine on her own without her famous friend in tow. Because when you treat rhubarb like the star she deserves to be, she shows UP!

This compote is here to help familiarize you with rhubarb as a solo fruit – er, actually, vegetable…who knew? It’s still mostly sweet, but with rhubarb’s signature puckery undercurrent and a texture that transpires when fibrousness gives way to melty jamminess. (You can dial down the sugar if your plan is to pair this with something that would do better with an acidic profile versus sweet.) I recommend eating it alone for the first few spoonfuls (it’s truly almost impossible not to), then combining it with any of the following, non-exhaustive list:

Salty roasted pork (make this one a high priority)
Sharp cheeses
Ice cream
Pancakes and the like
Cold chicken sandwiches
Charcuterie boards
Greek yogurt (plain) + granola
Strained into seltzer
Buttered toast, of course!

You’ll need just over one pound of rhubarb, ends trimmed off and thinly sliced (this should produce about 4 cups). Put this in a large saucepan with just under a cup of sugar (I use, very roughly, between ¾ cup and 1 cup). You can start with less sugar and increase it if more sweetness is desired. Throw in a whole star anise pod (not mandatory, but really lovely) and set over medium heat. Cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, or other whole spices that lean on the sweeter sider are delicious too; you can even throw in a few peppercorns if you’re desperate for some stimulation in life! Stirring frequently, cook it down until the rhubarb is super soft and you can easily break it with a fork or potato masher, about 10-15 minutes (don’t forget to pluck out the spices before doing any mashing). Stir in 2 tsp vanilla and cook for another minute or two. Once the compote is thick and fairly smooth, pour into a clean jar. This makes roughly two cups of compote and keeps for approximately two weeks refrigerated or three months frozen.

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