Rosemary and Cherry Pork Shoulder With Lemon Green Beans, Emmenthaler Cauliflower, and Rhubarb Compote


3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (enough for leftovers! This one has a nice fatcap)
1 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter (divided)
1/2 tablespoon flour


Clayton’s been bugging me to use his rhubarb, and he brought up these lovely stalks for me to incorporate into today’s dinner. I chop these babies into 1″ pieces.
I dump them into a large saucepan with my honey, sugar, and about a half cup of water — and a dash of salt for good measure. I set this to boil.
The sugars start to melt, the stalks to break down, and the flavors to blend. I drop the heat to its lowest setting…
Add 1/2 of my dried cherries, mixing well to submerge them in the simmering liquids…
After a few more moments, I add a few sprigs of rosemary to impart an earthy richness to the tart sweetness, and I let this whole mess simmer for 20 minutes until most of the liquids have boiled off.
I transfer the compote to a small bowl, and set into my fridge to chill until service. I could have done this yesterday, too, and it will hold for a week or so. Clayton’s gonna try it as the jelly component of his PB&Js this week.
While my compote is stewing, I prep my pork. This lovely shoulder will be stuffed with onion, rosemary, and chopped cherries — which will pick up the flavors in the compote compliment later.
I dice 1/2 my white onion, peel some more sprigs of rosemary off the stem, and gather the rest of my chopped cherries. After sprinkling the underside of my shoulder (into which I ended up cutting another pocket, to stuff more stuff) with salt and pepper (generously), I pack as much of my onions, rosemary, and cherries into the fold as I can
Before I roll up my shoulder and tie it off tightly into a bundle with butcher’s twine. Lots of my stuffing falls out. But just enough stays in, too.
I sprinkle the outside of my roast with salt and pepper before laying my bundle on a rack set over a foiled over cookie sheet. This yummy pig packet goes into a 350 degree oven for the next 2.5 hours, and it fills the house with the most amazing aroma – sweet and succulent and meaty and fruity, oh my.
See? My pork is temping at 180 degrees (fully cooked), and my skin is browned and just beginning to crisp. To make it crisp even more, and to finish off the roast, I raise the temp to 425 degrees, poke the surface all over with a fork (to release the underlayer of fat), and I stick this back in the oven. Here comes the cracklin’!
Next up is my hericot vert. I have two of these bean slicers, and they are wonderful. I’ve used them before, here, here, and here, for starters. I wanted to buy a few of these tools the other day, one each for my mom, my sister, my friend Tom, but the only place in town I know to get them — this lovely little kitchen store in Concord, MA, The Concord Shop – was sold out. On the other hand, I went to a Williams and Sonoma, thinking of course they’d have them, only to be rather superciliously put down by the clerk there (really? you’re a retail salesman in Tampa, Florida dude — you’re not in Paris), saying that he’d never heard of them. Humph. His loss — my table’s gain. You snip off the twig tip with the little blade at the end (which I sort of cut off in this picture, sorry), and then run the beans through — shaving the strings off — the vertical slicer to split each pod lengthwise.
See? Each bean slices into four long, thin strips. I drop them into boiling salted water to cook through to just tender, drain them, and…
For a few minutes, right before service, I sautee them with 1tbs butter and lemon zest in my hot wok.
But before that, I prep my confetti cauliflower. I love this blend: white, purple, green, and orange florets. I just don’t want their colors to bleed,…
So I decide to segregate the white bits from the multi-colored bits. This I reject as a way of life among people — but for cauliflower, which will happily comingle later, both on my plate and in my belly, this initial separation is OK. I set my bamboo steamers over hot water and cook my florets through to easily pierced with a long-tined fork.
As it steams, I get together its cheese sauce – a simple combination of finely diced onion, shredded Emmenthaler cheese, butter and cream.
Starting with 2tbs butter, which I melt in my large skillet…
I add my diced onions …
And sautee them until just softened and fragrant.
I add about a 1/2 tbs of flour to the just-slightly-turning-golden-brown butter and simmering onions, and mix well to form a scented roux. I then add my heavy cream (about 1 cup), whisk well over high heat to just foaming, before I add my…
Shredded Emmenthaler cheese.
I whisk this vigorously so that it all melts together and it comes to a thickening boil. I toss my white cauliflower florets with this sauce, then press them into buttered ramekins which I place in my hot oven for about 10 minutes, reserving 1/4 of the melted cheese, with which I toss my colored cauliflower. At the last moment, once my cheese sauce has baked and browned, I’ll stud the tops of my casseroles with the purple, green, and orange florets to set the whole dish awash with color.
My roast is tender and perfectly cooked, with the skin nicely charred and crispy from the last few minutes of heat. I carve into it, reveling in the thick veins of cherry rosemary running through its center.
Sweetly savory tender roasted pork dressed with cherry rhubarb compote and sprigs of rosemary, served alongside of nest of fresh citrusy green beans and an ethereal Emmenthaler baked cauliflower. The colors compete for my glances, and the flavors compete for my tastes; the cherries are rich in the center of the pork and tart in the crush of rhubarb; the haricot vert are light and green while the Brassica oleracea is sensuous and steaming. This is a dinner of complicated delights – supper and sweet all packed onto one plate. Delicious!




Monday, May 16, 2011 - 7:44am


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