Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Roasted Pork Butt with Rhubarb Compote

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In high school there was a group of us, four of us. We did everything together and oftentimes everything meant breaking the rules. Of course, I went to convent school where the rules were so strict and pretty silly that breaking them, though highly offensive to the administration, was mostly innocent. There's the time I ripped my coat in half while scaling the walls to escape. For a split second or two I just hung there with my coat still attached on one side of the fence and my body on the other. My alma mater, Georgetown Visitation is connected to Georgetown University so the older, cooler students just walked by and poked fun of the poor little Catholic school escapee. Other hijinks include but are not limited to the weekly skirt exchanges where the dean called us to her office, ripped off our short skirts that we'd fringed and decorated in studio art and gave us new to-our-knees version, the day I smuggled my best friend out of school in the trunk my car because I had a note to leave early and she didn't, and the time a couple of us, after months of hiding out in the parking lot to avoid chapel were finally found out by a nine months pregnant dean who gave birth the next day.

So you see, we weren't bad bad. We were just adorably naughty. Funnily enough, ten years later at our reunion, my friends and I found ourselves once again breaking the rules when we picked the lock to get into the chapel. Hey, it's absolutely beautiful and we wanted our significant others to see it. Why all this talk about high school? Nostalgia? For sure, but also I just made a pork butt and it immediately led me to think of my girl's and our anthem, Baby Got Back by Sir Mix-a-Lot... I'm serious... No, I'm really serious. We thought we were hysterical, blasting it from my bad blue Volvo sedan, playing it during lunch in the locker rooms and singing it while rough-housing in the maizelike old dormitory bathrooms. Visi use to be a boarding school so the bathrooms had bathtubs and showers; they were the size of my apartment.

So butts were on my mind this weekend... pork butts. I was at the market this past friday, chatting with a lady about what she was going to make with her bunch of Rhubarb. I've been testing Rhubarb scone recipes (coming soon), but she was going to make a compote. Right then, I grabbed an extra bunch of rhubarb and rushed back to buy a pork roast from Ray Bradley of Bradley Farms. He has the most amazing bacon, sausages and pork chops and I wanted to try out a loin roast. However, Ray said to use the butt, it's flavorful and tender and cheaper than a loin roast (by like half!!). I was sold. I always thought butts had to be slow roasted and shredded into something like barbecue, but after last night's meal I'm a girl transformed. The hubby, always in favor of saving a buck, declared, "we should never buy pork loin ever again." Well, I wouldn't go that far, but the butt was pretty darn delicious.

Roasted Pork Butt with Rhubarb Compote
(Perfect for a Sunday dinner or party, this is a set it and forget it kind of roast. No basting required. Serve it alongside the compote, a green salad and perhaps some creamy polenta.)

What You'll Need:

For the Pork:
1 3 pound Pork Butt
1/4 cup Oregano minced
3 shallots mince
Zest of 1 lemon
1tbsp Dijon Mustard
1tbsp Cider Vinegar
1/2 tsp Salt

For the Compote:
4 cups Rhubarb cut into half inch pieces
1/4 cup Oregano minced
4 shallots minced
Zest of one lemon
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
Salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350. 

Place the pork butt in a roasting pan and pat dry.

Place the oregano, shallots, zest, mustard, vinegar and salt in a mortar and smash it up with a pestle as best you can. When it's sort of pasty and well mixed spread the mixture over top the butt. Pop in the oven and cook until the thermometer reads 160, about 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

About 20 minutes before the pork is ready, place a sauce pan over a medium-high heat. Add a pat of butter and, just as it's browning, add the rhubarb and all of the ingredients but the salt. Stir and simmer for about 30 minutes. Towards the end, taste and adjust the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, slice the pork butt and place on a platter. Pour the compote into a little bowl and set alongside the pork. Enjoy

Approximate Cost:
Groceries: $38
Cost per Meal: Expect 4-6 servings

This Time Last Year: Garlic Scapes with Shrimp and Brown Rice

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  1. While I have to admit I think this dish is beyond my eating OR cooking capabilities, I did enjoy reading about your bad juvenile behavior!

  2. This sounds like a great combo - can't wait to try it. And I loved the stories of your hijinks at school - you were much braver than I ever was!

  3. Usually, I'm not fond of rhubarb, but this sounds like a great pairing. Rhubarb is in season right now so I'd really like to give this a try.

  4. Had never thought of rhubarb with pork. This dish sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  5. Thanks everyone! Alexandra, I wasn't sure what I was gonna get, but pork and rhubarb have proved to be a great combo!

  6. I love how you "break the rules" with your food choices. This looks like one to try. Also, can I have a second helping of your school stories? They are very entertaining!

  7. Thank you, Jesaka! I could just write about myself all day long. Especially high school. It was such fun.

  8. Now this is a dish I can get behind! And I don't even have to convert it so that I can eat it. I have a huge pork shoulder in the freezer - thanks for inspiring me to dig it out.



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