Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Rhubarb Put's Some Zing in Your Spring!

As I sat thinking about spring vegetables for this blog, my first thoughts were about fresh asparagus. Then I thought, "everyone thinks asparagus in spring." Everywhere I turn there's an asparagus recipe. It's not that I don't like asparagus. I love it. I just didn't want to offer the ubiquitous asparagus recipe when there are so many other vegetables popping up in the springtime. So what could I suggest that was unique?

The answer came to me while walking through my neighborhood. I noticed a home with planter boxes overflowing with tawny-pink rhubarb stalks and was inspired.

Rhubarb is one of those often overlooked vegetables but it's delicious, simple to work with, and a great source of potassium and vitamin C. The early pink stems are the best for cooking. You'll definitely have to add some sugar to offset their natural tartness though. Oh! Do remember that the stems are the edible portion of the plant so trim away all the leaves before cooking.

I'm sure that moment I mentioned rhubarb many of you thought of pies, but since I am not much of a baker I decided to develop a different type of recipe - a Spiced Rhubarb Compote.

If you like tangy, sweet and sour sauce, you'll love this compote! It's quick, easy, and so versatile. I've spooned over roasted pork and duck, served it as a condiment for a glazed ham, and topped savory goat cheese cheesecakes with a dollop. So yummy!

Spiced Rhubarb Compote

6 cups diced rhubarb stalks (about 2 lbs)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 ground allspice
1 pinch of nutmeg

Combine all the ingredients in a large sauce pan. Simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the rhubarb is tender, about 20 minutes. Simmer a bit longer to thicken, if you like.

The compote can be served warm, at room temperature, or cold and will keep up to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

If you are inspired to try other rhubarb recipes, I found a link to some interesting cocktails too. Check out the article on Liquor.com. 

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