By James Temple
This cut of pork is called a pork shoulder roast at Misaki’s Grocery here on Molokai, but it is also known as a pork rib roast. Basically it’s a rack of bone-in pork chops that are not cut apart (Ask your butcher to remove the chine bone (backbone) so you can easily cut the roast apart after it is cooked).
There are a lot of great things about this cut of pork. One is that it only cost me $11.45 for a 3.28 pound roast, enough to feed five lucky people. This cut of pork is like a prime rib roast in the pork world. It’s great for company or for special occasions, or to just treat yourself over the holidays, and it’s very easy to prepare.
I have a tried-and-true recipe for this beautiful roast. The recipe comes out of the fact that I have a couple of rosemary bushes in my yard that I regularly use for pork ribs, venison roasts, or when I make mashed potatoes (I use rosemary in the water to flavor the potatoes).
However if you don’t have rosemary growing in your yard, perhaps you know someone who does, or you can purchase it at Kumu Farms here on Molokai. The rosemary is chopped and covers the roast with the addition of olive oil, sea salt and lots of black pepper. The end product is a juicy thing of beauty, especially with delicious mustard gravy. I am sure you and your family will enjoy this recipe as much as my wife and I do.
Rosemary Pork Rib Roast with Mustard Gravy
1-3 1/2 pound pork shoulder roast
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sea salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1/2 cup rosemary, finely chopped
2 carrots – rough cut
1 small onion – rough cut and include skins
2 stalks of celery – rough cut
6 cloves garlic peeled and smashed
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon grainy mustard
Let pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 450˚F.
In the center of a roasting pan add your rough cut vegetables. Rinse the rack of pork well and pat dry. Rub the olive oil into the meat, then sprinkle entire rack with the sea salt, pepper and chopped rosemary. Place rack fat side up, on top of cut vegetables. Place pan in preheated oven at 450˚F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce heat to 325˚F and continue to roast for approximately 1 1/2 hours or until internal temperature has reached 145˚F with an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center of the roast. Note: The general rule is to roast your pork roast for 20 minutes per pound, or until the internal temperature reaches 145˚F.
Remove the pork from the oven placing it on a cutting board and allow it to rest, covered with foil, for 20 minutes before slicing it. This will allow all the juices to remain in the pork, rather than have them run all over the cutting board, making the meat dry.
While the pork is resting, remove the roasted vegetables from the roasting pan and discard. Now remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil that remains in the pan. Set the pan across 2 burners turned to medium high. Sprinkle the pan with the flour and brown the flour, stirring it in the remaining oil, to a light brown color.
Now add the wine and chicken stock to the roasting pan. With a wooden spoon stir the mixture for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens, making your pan gravy. Finally stir in the mustard. Taste the gravy and season with salt and pepper if needed. Cut the rack along the bones, making even portions of the pork, serve with your pan gravy and your favorite sides! Makes 5 servings.
Chef James Temple is a retired chef, cookbook author, food blogger, golfer and family cook living on Molokai. He has a degree from the San Francisco Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu Program. His first job as a professional cook was at Hotel Molokai. Temple also opened Mango Mart Deli, managed the Lanikeha Commercial Kitchen and operated a specialty food store in Kaunakakai, Bamboo Pantry, for four years.
Over time, Temple learned a lot about the people of Molokai. “Cooking on Molokai is like living and cooking in any small town, except we are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. You learn to work with what you can get as far as food and many other things,” says Temple.
“It is my hope to share our food experiences here in the ‘Tasting Hawaii,’” said Temple. “Mahalo.”
Temple’s food columns can be found at www.tastinghawaii.com.