To me, rhubarb was one of those things in the Grandma category, like mincemeat and cold cream. It seems old fashioned, but in a comforting nostalgic sort of way. And I do recall that my grandmother was particularly fond of rhubarb.
For years, I ignored it in the produce aisle, but last year, I decided to buy some and figure out what to do with it. (I still don't use mincemeat --whatever that is exactly, I think it varies -- or cold cream, though!).
Rhubarb is my new fave. It is delicious, easy to cook and not too sweet. And it's so Norman Rockwell. We are not too big on classic pies in my family, because with all that crust they tend to be very rich, very fattening and potentially time consuming. Though, truth be told, I do make a lot of open face pies and many, many fruit crisps -- the hands down favorite.
The other day, I had picked up three stalks of rhubarb and some fresh strawberries at the supermarket. Mint is already all over my herb garden and the rhubarb, strawberry and mint combination is classic and really, really good. I thought it would go well with cornbread and it did.
As I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, I use mixes strategicially and recently discovered Trader Joe's cornbread mix. It is easy and always good.
For my compote, I have cut down significantly on the sugar recommended in most rhubarb recipes, because I prefer the more natural tart flavor of the rhubarb and the strawberries are already sweet. Feel free to adjust the proportions as you like.
This is delicious served warm or cold and the compote is delicious over pancakes, French toast and just about anything!
Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote over Cornbread
One package cornbread mix (I like Trader Joe's or Jiffy)
3 stalks fresh rhubarb
1 pint fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and halved
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
1. Prepare and bake a pan of cornbread according to package directions; let cool
2. Wash the stalks of rhubarb and cut each into inch-long pieces
3. Put the rhubarb pieces, sugar and water into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil
4. Reduce heat and let simmer until rhubarb is soft, but not too mushy (ten minutes at most)
5. Remove from heat, stir in strawberries and mint
6. Chill until ready to use; serve warm or cold.