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Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote
(recipe, Michelle D ~ aka Sage)
This simple compote updates the classic pairing of rhubarb and strawberry with a little orange juice and lemongrass. Try it on scones, ice cream, pound cake, cheesecake, or, as a friend of mine likes it, eaten straight with a spoon.
What to buy: Look for rhubarb that is free of blemishes; trim off any leaves, and, if the stalk appears fibrous, peel as you would celery. Lemongrass can be found at farmers’ and Asian markets; peel off any dry, damaged outer leaves.
- 1½ lb. rhubarb stalks, leaves removed, ends trimmed, and sliced into ½-inch pieces
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from 1 medium orange)
- 4 tsp. minced lemongrass (from a 3-inch piece)
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 3 cups)
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped, pod and seeds reserved (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- Combine rhubarb, orange juice, lemongrass, and ½ cup of the sugar in a medium nonreactive bowl; toss to coat the rhubarb in the sugar and set aside to macerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, toss remaining ¼ cup sugar with strawberries, vanilla pod, and vanilla seeds in a small bowl until strawberries are well coated; let macerate at least 10 minutes.
- Transfer rhubarb mixture to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to bubble and rhubarb releases its juices, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low, cover the pan, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb “melts” and breaks apart, about 5 minutes.
- Stir strawberry mixture into rhubarb and simmer uncovered for an additional 5 minutes. (Don’t stir too often—you want the strawberries to hold their shape.) Remove from heat, discard vanilla pod, and set aside to cool. The compote can be served at room temperature or chilled; refrigerate leftovers in a covered container.