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Grunts, Slumps and Buckles

June 03, 1993|MARION CUNNINGHAM

Blueberry buckle, blackberry slump, rhubarb grunt . . . the names sound curious, but they're all really just variations on cobbler.

Originally, these simple desserts were made in a kettle hung over an open fire. The process was made much easier when temperature-regulated ovens were introduced, and now my friend Sharon Kramis has taken the dish one step further. This rhubarb grunt is a breeze because it is made with self-rising flour (commonly used in the South and other parts of the country), which contains its own baking powder.

This is a very good dessert you can make in a jiffy. Any fruit or berry can be substituted for the rhubarb. Simply adjust the sugar to match the sweetness of the filling.

To round out a menu including the rhubarb grunt, try hen braised with onions. It goes together quickly and has the soft, mellow flavors of onion and ginger that blend well with chicken. Add a salad of whole baby romaine leaves with a buttermilk-blue cheese dressing to balance the menu.

These are dishes that make it easy to invite friends to stay for supper on the spur of the moment.

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Rhubarb Grunt is best served warm with vanilla ice cream.

RHUBARB GRUNT 1 1/2 pounds rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 1/4 cups sugar, depending on how tart rhubarb is 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces 1 cup self-rising flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons sugar 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Spread rhubarb over bottom of ungreased shallow 9x5-inch baking dish. Sprinkle 1 1/4 cups sugar on top and toss to coat rhubarb evenly. Dot rhubarb with butter and set aside.

Put flour, sugar and salt in mixing bowl and stir with fork to blend. Gently stir in whipped cream and mix until well blended. Spread topping over fruit (it is sticky, so dampen fingers with cold water to spread easily), or drop over fruit by spoonfuls. Bake at 375 degrees until fruit is bubbling and top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Each serving contains about: 471 calories; 500 mg sodium; 70 mg cholesterol; 21 grams fat; 69 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams protein; 0.88 gram fiber.

CHICKEN BRAISED WITH ONIONS 6 large yellow onions, sliced about 1/8-inch thick 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger 2 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper 3 pounds chicken pieces 1 cup water 8 small red potatoes, unpeeled and cut in half, optional Parsley, finely chopped, optional

Put half onion slices in bottom of Dutch oven, or any heavy-bottomed, lidded pot. Mix together ginger, salt and pepper and spread over piece of wax paper. Roll each piece of chicken in seasoning mixture so sides are covered. Place chicken pieces over layer of onion slices and cover chicken with remaining onion slices.

Pour water over all and cover pot. Braise over low heat 1 to 2 hours (chicken will be ready to eat in 1 hour, but give it 2 hours if possible to develop flavor). Place potatoes on top of onions last 30 minutes of cooking, or until done. Serve in bowls and sprinkle top of each serving with chopped parsley. Make 4 servings.

Each serving contains about: 423 calories; 1,326 mg sodium; 146 mg cholesterol; 22 grams fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 39 grams protein; 1.12 grams fiber.

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This dressing goes well with the tender, inner leaves of romaine lettuce.

BUTTERMILK DRESSING 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup mayonnaise 2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt

Put buttermilk, mayonnaise, garlic and salt in jar with lid and shake until well blended. Refrigerate until needed. Makes 1 cup.

Each tablespoon contains about: 32 calories; 134 mg sodium; 2 mg cholesterol; 3 grams fat; 2 grams carbohydrates; 0 protein; 0.01 gram fiber.

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