An easy spring compote of rhubarb, cooked in wine with sugar and vanilla until tender. By roasting chunks of rhubarb in the oven, without stirring as they cook, we keep the pieces whole, bathed in a fragrant syrup. It's perfect on its own, with yogurt or whipped cream, or spooned over cake.
Why It Works
- Wine adds much more flavor to rhubarb than water.
- Roasting (without stirring) keeps the rhubarb pieces whole.
- Yield:Makes about 4 cups
- Active time: 15 minutes
- Total time:1 hour
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
- 1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces; 100g)
- 2 pounds (1kg) rhubarb, ends trimmed, stalks cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup (120ml) red or white wine (see note)
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a small bowl, combine vanilla seeds and sugar; reserve vanilla pod for another use. Using your fingers, work vanilla into sugar until evenly distributed. In a large bowl, combine vanilla/sugar with rhubarb pieces and toss well. Transfer mixture to a 10-cup baking dish and pour in wine.
Roast rhubarb until very tender, about 30 minutes; avoid stirring as it cooks, which would break the rhubarb down into mush.
Set aside until cooled to room temperature. Transfer rhubarb pieces and syrup to a container, cover, and refrigerate. Serve rhubarb and its syrup alone or with plain yogurt, a dollop of whipped cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is also delicious spooned over a slice of pound cake.