Simplest Rhubarb Compote

Simplest Rhubarb compote

Today I made the simplest rhubarb compote. Winter has been hanging on forever. It seems like it’s January 115th, rather than more than halfway through April. Some of the plants know that springtime is almost here – there are buds, some flowers are pushing up their stalks – but we have no blossoms yet, because it’s too dang cold, and we keep getting more snow and ice. As if anybody wants more snow and ice. Winter, go home!

I know that spring will be coming soon. It’s not just the calendar that tells me so – I spied some lovely stalks of rhubarb on my last trip to the local farmers’ market! Yes, they were greenhouse-grown. Wise local farmer, he has a plan for fickle springs.

Compote is the fancy name for what my grandmother would have called stewed fruit. It sounds nicer, more, er, artisanal, right? Don’t worry about what you call it, just make some right away. It’s ever so easy, and so, so good. This is the simplest rhubarb compote ever, with only three ingredients.

Start with about a pound of fresh rhubarb stalks. Sometimes the rhubarb will be pale pink; sometimes a darker red – doesn’t matter, just clean the stalks, then chop the rhubarb, and pile into a saucepan.

Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, and stir well. Now go away for a while, and let the sugar draw liquid out of the rhubarb. Leave it until you can definitely see liquid in the pan.

Once the sugar has done its magic, stir in 1/2 teaspoon of cardamom, and put the saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and stir well to dissolve any remaining sugar crystals. Then reduce heat, and simmer the rhubarb, uncovered, until it is tender: this will take 15-20 minutes.

Taste it: if it’s too tart for you, add a bit more sugar, bring it to a boil again, then reduce heat. The compote will be partly chunky, looking a bit like lumpy pink applesauce. The pieces of rhubarb should be completely tender, and the compote itself will be fruity, sweet, and tart.

Serve it warm or cold, on its own, or as a side dish with something like roasted pork. It’s also terrific over yogurt or ice cream, or even pound cake. Keep the compote, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze in 2 cup quantities.

 

Simplest Rhubarb compote

Simplest Rhubarb Compote

Course: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Keyword: rhubarb, early spring
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Resting time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Rhubarb compote, or stewed rhubarb: one of the earliest signs of spring.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 lb rhubarb 450 g
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar 50 g
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom ½ g

Instructions

  • Start with about a pound of fresh rhubarb stalks. Sometimes the rhubarb will be pale pink; sometimes a darker red – doesn’t matter, just clean the stalks, then chop the rhubarb into ¼-inch slices. Pile the chopped rhubarb into a saucepan.
  • Add ¼ cup granulated sugar, and stir well. Now go away for a while, and let the sugar draw liquid out of the rhubarb. Leave it until you can definitely see liquid in the pan, about 1 hour.
  • Once the sugar has done its magic, stir in ½ teaspoon of cardamom, and put the saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and stir well to dissolve any remaining sugar crystals. Then reduce heat, and simmer the rhubarb, uncovered, until it is tender: this will take 15-20 minutes.
  • Taste it: if it’s too tart for you, add a bit more sugar, bring it to a boil again, then reduce heat. The compote will be partly chunky, looking a bit like lumpy pink applesauce. The pieces of rhubarb should be completely tender, and the compote itself will be fruity, sweet, and tart.
  • Serve it warm or cold, on its own, or as a side dish with something like roasted pork. It’s also terrific over yogurt or ice cream, or even pound cake. Keep the compote, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze.

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Welcome

I’m Maurita Plouff, and I write about cooking and preserving the local harvest in Southeast Michigan. Any recipe you find here is something I have cooked myself, and enjoyed, and think you might like too. I invite you to try the recipes, and leave comments.

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