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rhubarb-bacon compote

May 21, 2012

Ah rhubarb season….

It feels like it’s coming a bit early this season, which is great! But also leads to pangs of fear that the intermittent crazy warm days (92 degrees in mid-May? In Minneapolis?!) we’re having might make for a short growing season for (cool temp loving) rhubarb.

So I do what any rhubarb-loving fan(atic) would do. I (over)buy…. We currently have about 5 pounds of rhubarb waiting to be made into juice and ketchup. But before that, I need to share our newest find.

Last weeks trip to Mill City Farmers Market yielded not only the first rhubarb of the season, but also a new Rhubarb cookbook! A signed copy of local writer Kim Ode’sRhubarb Renaissance” now joins my exploding binder of rhubarb recipes. The book wasn’t more than a few hours old before it gave us a new rhubarb pleasure: compote made with bacon and onion. (local note: if you want your very own signed copy, check out her website. there’s a list of local events & book signings this May & June)

oh. my….

Ok, it goes without saying that I adore rhubarb (see: new blog header, this post from last year, add in that rhubarb inspired me to finally enter a bake-off, and the fact this it is the one ingredient I know so completely I’m willing to fearlessly riff with it in the kitchen – last weekend that meant dessert was a rhubarb upside down cupcake adventure).

If anyone follow us on twitter, it’s apparent fairly quickly that EJ and I love bacon. (ooh, let me count the ways: BLTs, cheddar and bacon biscuits, bacon jam!)  We also love caramelized onions (does anything save maybe popcorn make the house smell so immediately mouthwatering?).

So when I flipped through the book and found a recipe that combined those two loves with RHUBARB?! You just know I made it that very instant. (it helped that I was prepping for Sunday night dinner with a friend and was already planning to make last year’s beloved addition to the fold: roasted rhubarb with goat cheese salad)

Rhubarb-Bacon Compote

adapted from a recipe in this great book

I made a few tweaks to the recipe as I went (more bacon! champagne vinegar substitution because  that’s what I had on hand, longer cooking time), and opted to serve it slathered on fresh baked bread over a schmear of chevre from Singing Hills Goat Dairy. It would also be great with pork tenderloin, or just on toast.

The Ingredients…

4 strips of bacon

1 Tbsp bacon fat

1 C finely chopped onion

1 C chopped rhubarb*

3 Tbsp maple syrup

1.5 Tbsp champagne vinegar

1 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced

and a pinch of allspice

The process…

  • Bake the bacon at 400 until it reaches the perfect level of crispiness for you.
  • Use a tablespoon of the resulting bacon fat to caramelize the onions in (medium heat for 20 – 30 minutes; you want them soft and beginning to be beautifully caramelized)
  • When the onions are done, add the rhubarb, maple syrup, vinegar & thyme and allspice.
  • Cook over medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes (until the rhubarb is soft & the resulting sauce has cooked down to about half)
  • Remove from heat and crumble in the bacon

*A Note about the rhubarb. I’ve been using “strawberry” rhubarb the times I’ve made this so far. Strawberry has thinner stalks than some of the other varieties. If you’re using a thick stalked variety, you may want to split them down the middle before chopping.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2012 8:59 am

    More bacon — I like your style! Thanks for the mention and hope you continue to enjoy….

    • May 23, 2012 12:41 pm

      Thanks Kim! We’re both so loving the book, and looking forward to trying many more of your recipes.

  2. June 12, 2012 3:14 pm

    This rhubarb-bacon thing looks scary to me, but now I know who to go to with rhubarb questions since you have both a collection and a rhubarb-specific cookbook! I look forward to reading more of your blog since I am an avid Farmers’ Market shopper and cook.

    • June 12, 2012 4:12 pm

      Hi Sharyn. Thanks for stopping by! Don’t be scared by the compote, if you like savory spreads and bacon, it’s a surprising winner. And yes, I can probably field any rhubarb question you have (as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with pie. I’m not a fan either).

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