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Musical pairing – Glitter In The Air by Pink
My mother used to make quite a few of our family meals in a large, silver, Waring Dutch oven: Sunday pot roast, soups, spaghetti sauce, boiled potatoes for potato salad and many more dishes that escape my memory at the moment. But one of my favorites was rhubarb compote – although my 10-year-old self didn’t call it ‘compote’ – my 10-year-old self wasn’t as sophisticated back then (said tongue-in-cheek) – it was simply ‘cooked rhubarb.’
Rhubarb grew wild along the fence of our Little House on Ankeny Street – I have no idea who planted it originally or how long the plants had been there but every spring, those giant leaves would be whacked off with a large kitchen knife and the chartreuse green and red stems would be hosed down outside, then carried to the galley-style kitchen, chopped into smaller pieces and tossed into that silver Dutch oven. My mother would add sugar and water, place the domed lid askew on the pot for a bit and cook the rhubarb until it was squishy-soft and falling apart. The tangy scent of rhubarb blending with cooked sugar was hard to resist and I can remember sneaking a spoonful (or two) somewhere along in the process.
Mom would make at least one Strawberry-Rhubarb pie during the season because it was Dad’s favorite, but most of the time we scooped spoonfuls of the pretty, pinkish, sticky-sweet mixture into bowls for dessert. Fast-forward many years and every Spring, I can’t seem to get enough rhubarb even though we have several plants growing in our very own garden. My impatience has caused me to pay more than $3 a pound for the deep ruby stalks beckoning from their residence on the produce shelves. I usually make a batch of jam and at least one Strawberry-Rhubarb pie in honor of Dad but I find that I still enjoy a couple of scoops straight into a bowl for a snack or an after dinner dessert.
I prefer roasting the rhubarb in the oven versus stove top; the finished compote has a more intense rhubarb flavor and oven roasting also allows the sugars to caramelize a bit – the tradeoff is less in volume but I think the overall flavor is worth it.
Adding pink peppercorns give this compote a slight kick of spiciness and without overpowering the rhubarb – pink peppercorns are milder than the usual black variety and add just the tiniest bit of floral sweetness – really lovely.
ROASTED RHUBARB & PINK PEPPERCORN COMPOTE
Makes 2 Cups
- 5 cups chopped rhubarb, 1-inch pieces (approx 1.5 lbs)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 Tablespoon pink peppercorns
- pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees
- Wash rhubarb and chop into 1-inch pieces; place in large bowl
- Pour sugar over rhubarb
- Add pink peppercorns & pinch of salt
- Mix well and place on a rimmed sheet pan
- Bake for approximately 45 minutes to an hour stirring occasionally, or until rhubarb is soft and tender
- Enjoy all by its little lonesome or use as a topping for ice cream, mix into muffins or other baked goods
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Hoooooly moly, I would have never thought to put pink peppercorns in with rhubarb, but now I canNOT wait to get my hands on a batch!
Beautiful post, Deb. And it reminds me of a wonderful Prairie Home Companion episode about – and called – Rhubarb Pie. You should try and find it. My dad used to make Dried Fruit Compote – and oddly enough we did call it compote – out of prunes and dried apricots and it was heavenly. An odd thing for a small child to have as her favorite dessert. Maybe it has something to do with the love that a parent put into it as you so perfectly describe?
Love these recollections about rhubarb…and I want to make a pie now. Thank you for sharing with me…I’d love for you to visit my brand new website when you get the chance. I hope you have a beautiful day.
…with goat cheese and toasted bread 😉 love rhubarb!
I love rhubarb and love adding a fiery flavor to spike it up. Red peppercorns here are awesome!
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of rhubarb. Funny, I ate it as a child but now I don’t. My sister on the other hand loves the stuff and I’m going to send her this recipe as I think she’d really enjoy it. Also, I did not know of pink peppercorns. Wherever did you find them as I’ve never seen them in my supermarkets here.
Paula ~ I found these pink peppercorns at Williams Sonoma – they were on their clearance table or I probably wouldn’t have purchased them as they can be kinda spendy. But I’ve also seen them at Penzey’s Spices as well as some Sur La Table locations. I really love their flavor!
I’ve yet to make a rhubarb pie of any kind, but I should, soon. This roasted recipe looks like a quick fix until I get around to making the pie.
I’d encourage you to give a rhubarb pie a go – one of my very favorite pies to make in the spring . . . well truth be told, i love pie any time of year!
This is absolutely gorgeous! LOVE THIS RECIPE!!
Thanks Gail – it is a favorite of mine; but also admit that it may have something to do with nostalgia!
It’s the pink peppercorns that grow wild in my yard! What a team we’d make! GREG
you are sooooooo lucky Greg!