One of my fondest memories of our travels through the Umbrian countryside this past summer was the delicious porchetta, flavored with garlic & fennel. Porchetta is a common street food sold by vendors and macellerias (butcher shops) throughout Umbria. It is often eaten as a snack with bread or as part of a larger meal.
To make porchetta, a whole pig is deboned and stuffed with lots of garlic and fennel and various pieces of pork. It is rolled and roasted until the skin is crunchy, and the meat is tender. Porchetta is by no means an easy thing to recreate at home but with help from your butcher and lots of time it is certainly doable. I found the recipe below at www.feastmagazine.com. Though it might seem daunting the result is a porchetta that tastes very similar to what we ate in Italy.
Porchetta(recipe from Feast Magazine)
Begin preparation the day before serving; once the roast is assembled, it needs to refrigerate overnight before cooking.
Yields | 1 Roast |
Pork Belly and Pork Loin
1 piece pork belly with skin, about 10-by-20 inches
3 to 4 lb boneless pork loin
1 Tbsp salt, plus more
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more
Pesto (recipe below)
12 smashed garlic cloves
12 fresh sage leaves
¼ lb pork fat, cut into strips or cubes
Herbs (recipe below)
1 to 2 lbs pork tenderloin
1 to 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut in 2-inch cubes
Preparation – Pork Belly and Loin
With the pork belly skin-side down, score meat in a cross-hatch pattern, 1/3-inch deep and 1-inch apart. Turn pork belly over, and using a sharp knife, score skin, 1/8-inch deep in a cross-hatch pattern about 1-inch apart. Turn, skin-side down, and set aside.
Place the pork loin skin-side down. On the tapered side of the loin, make a cut about 1-inch deep and then cut straight across to butterfly, continuing to make 1-inch cuts until the loin folds open like a book. Set aside.
Preparation – Pork Roast
Season skin side of prepared pork belly with salt. Turn belly skin-side down and place flat on a cutting board with the short end facing you. Season with pepper and more salt.
Spread half of the pesto over the belly, leaving a 1-inch border around the sides.
Lay butterflied pork loin in the center of the pork belly and spread remaining pesto over loin. Arrange garlic, sage and pork fat on top of loin. Season with salt and pepper.
Spread herbs over pork tenderloin. Toss pork shoulder cubes in remaining herbs. Place tenderloin in the center of pork loin and arrange pork shoulder cubes on top of tenderloin. Season with salt and pepper.
To roll the roast, begin at the end of the pork loin where you finished the initial cut, slowly rolling and packing ingredients in tightly. When finished rolling the roast, use butcher’s twine to tie roast at 1-inch increments so it will cook evenly. Set roast on a platter and refrigerate overnight.
Remove roast from refrigerator 2 hours before cooking.
Preheat oven to 500ºF. Set oven rack on the second notch from the bottom of oven.
Place room-temperature roast, seam-side up, on a roasting pan and transfer to the oven on the positioned rack. Cook for 50 minutes, turning once and rotating the pan. Reduce oven to 325ºF and cook until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 140ºF, about 1½ to 2½ hours. Remove roast from oven and allow to rest for 20 minutes before serving.
6 garlic cloves
4 Tbsp fennel seeds
1 Tbsp dried rosemary
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp black peppercorns
1 tsp red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 Tbsp lemon zest
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Mix all together.
2 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 Tbsp roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
½ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
3 tsp roughly chopped fennel fronds
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil