Posted by: highmountainmuse | July 26, 2009

Rhubarb Compote, a family affair

A family recipe, a family heirloom:  rhubarb compote

A family recipe, a family heirloom: rhubarb compote

It was about 6 years ago or so that they took down the old bridge along river and built a new and improved model.  That’s when Bob’s uncle had us help haul away the old bridge timbers. Time well spent.  Those timbers have ended up as frame work for our deck, steps to the back porch, and the borders for our raised beds in the garden.

rhubarb growing in the garden

rhubarb growing in the garden

The rhubarb was one of the first things to be planted in the garden when we built the raised beds. The cuttings came from Bob’s aunt, along with the onions which traced their roots back to his grandma. The asparagus went in soon after, though I admit those starts came from a mail order company.  In a land of long winters and an average of 4 weeks frost free growing season, where summer sun is a fleeting feeling quickly replaced by sudden rain or hail storms, those crops have not only managed, but thrived.

This morning, my mom and I harvested more of that rhubarb, and tried a new “conglomeration” that’s a pretty neat change to the typical use of rhubarb, which is either a crisp or a somewhat mushy and stringy sauce.  It’s kind of fancy for my style of cooking, you’ll see by the list of ingredients, but it so happens we actually had all these things on hand – mostly thanks to leftovers found in the guest cabins, and all a welcome treat.

Here’s the recipe.  I hope you try and enjoy.  We just gave it a taste test over another rare treat: vanilla ice cream. I’d say it went over pretty well. 

rhubarb compote over ice cream

rhubarb compote over ice cream

Rhubarb Compote

In a large sauce pan, combine and heat to a boil, stirring occasionally:

            2 cups red wine (we used leftovers from guest cabin, a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon , and I’d recommend the same.  Use a decent wine, as the flavor comes through well at the end, but the alcohol is of course cooked out)

            1 cup sugar

            3 2-inch long strips orange peel (the orange part only)

            2 2-inch-long strips lemon peel ( the yellow part only)

            2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

            1/8 teaspoon salt

            5 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped into ½ inch long pieces

Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Rhubarb should be soft and tender, but not mushy.  Using a colander, separate the rhubarb from the liquid. Put the cooked rhubarb in a serving dish, and pick out the cooked peels. Put the liquid back over the heat and cook until it reduces down to about a cup and a half of syrup. Pour the syrup over the rhubarb.  Cover, let cool, and allow it sit so the flavors blend together, either later in the day or the following day.  We couldn’t wait too long, and had it room temperature hours after cooking.  But I bet tomorrow at breakfast over some vanilla yogurt it will be even better!

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