Cookery school: meat, 208pp.
by Joanna Farrow
New Holland Publishing, Sydney, 2012
Cooking on pages 64–65 (32 x 2)
Lizzie was visiting from Sydney, so I took her to one of Canberra’s must-see destinations—Canty’s Bookstore in Fyshwick. She was keen to buy a cookbook filled with recipes for slow cooking. We found plenty of those, but then she said I especially want something that features meat.
I’d already spotted this one and now I’m sorry I pointed it out to her. She bought it and promptly took it home with all those gorgeous recipes. But she promised to do a guest post from it. As it turns out, Lizzie has made this recipe twice and forgotten to photograph it.
So I made it for her when she came to Canberra this week for a conference.
Here it is. It’s from pages 64–65 because 32 and 132 had no recipes.
Smokey pulled pork with rhubarb butter
4 cloves garlic, crushed
handful of thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2.5 kg (5 lb 8 oz) pork shoulder
For the rhubarb butter
400 g (14 oz) rhubarb
good pinch of ground cloves
75 g (2 1/2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
75 g (2 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/Gas Mark 7. Pull some of the thyme leaves from the stalks until you have about 1 tablespoon. Mix the thyme with the garlic and a little salt and pepper. Use a small sharp knife to cut lots of deep slits through the pork skin and into the meat. Pack the garlic mixture into the slits.
Scatter the remaining thyme into the tin (pan) and place the meat on top, skin side uppermost. Sprinkle the skin with salt and rub it in firmly. Roast the pork for 30 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 140°C/275°F/Gas Mark 1 and roast for another 4–5 hours.
While roasting make the rhubarb butter so it has time to chill and thicken. Trim the rhubarb and cut into 1 cm (1/2 in) pieces. Put in a saucepan with 15 ml (1 tablespoon) water, the cloves and sugar. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Continue to cook gently until the rhubarb is tender and pulp. Tip into a bowl and slice in the butter. Stir until the butter melts then leave to cool. Refrigerate until needed.
Once the pork is cooked, slice off the crackling in one piece and break it into pieces with a knife or your fingers. Pull the pork into pieces with a knife and fork and serve with the crackling and rhubarb butter.
How it played out
I made a special trip to the butcher’s to get a nice pork shoulder. The choices in the supermarket were either too small or boneless and wrapped in netting. The butcher cut a piece to size and scored the skin to produce a nice crackling.
Luckily I have thyme and rhubarb growing in the garden. The rhubarb plant produces wonderfully thin and tender stalks, and the thyme has a gorgeous perfume.
I followed the recipe and got the roast going first. I made 12 slits in the skin and that was about right for the amount for garlic–thyme mixture I had. The great thing then was that all I had to do was make the rhubarb butter, which took less than 15 minutes, and remember to turn down the oven after 30 minutes. Oh, and I made one tiny change, using only 65 grams of caster sugar rather than the full 75 grams.
Another friend, Caroline, was joining us for dinner and was bringing her sensational potato gratin and mini stuffing balls, so come dinnertime all I had to do was set the table, steam some broccoli and enjoy a glass of wine.
Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow! Now I know why Lizzie has made this recipe twice. It is sensational. The crackling was perfect, and who knew rhubarb butter would be such a perfect accompaniment to a pork roast? It was fun to serve the butter in a small bowl I bought in Mongolia (see top pic).
Three of us enjoyed the leftovers, what little there were, for lunch today. There was no fight over who got the crackling—we ate all that last night.