Sunday, November 11, 2012

Porchetta

 

 Porchetta is an Italian roast which highlights the best parts of the pig: the fat, the tender lean meat and the crispy skin. I have been obsessed with trying to make it ever since I saw it featured once on a Food Network show.


Although gathering the ingredients, the preparation and cooking time were tedious, it was so worth it in the end. Mr. Incredible has already requested porchetta instead of turkey for Thanksgiving!



Porchetta
adapted from Cooking and Eating in Maine

1 five to six pound piece fresh pork belly, skin on
1 three pound boneless, pork shoulder

2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
4 garlic cloves, minced
ground black pepper
Up to 1 tablespoon Kosher salt


Preparation:



For the herb paste: Add sage, rosemary, parsley, dried chili flakes, garlic, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Prep the pork belly: First, do a test-fit of the two pieces of pork. Place the belly skin-side down, and arrange the shoulder in the center. Roll the belly around the shoulder so the ends of the belly meat (my pork belly only covered the top of the pork shoulder, which turned out fine). If any of the belly or the loin overlaps, trim meat with a sharp knife.


Arrange belly skin side down on a counter or large cutting board. Using a knife, score the belly flesh in a checkerboard pattern about 1/3 of an inch deep, to help the roast cook evenly.


Flip belly over, and sing a paring knife, poke dozens of 1/8 inch deep holes through the skin, all over the belly.


Rolling: Turn belly skin side down and salt both shoulder and belly generously with kosher salt. Rub flesh side of belly with the herb mixture. Arrange the shoulder down the middle of the belly. Wrap belly around loin, and tie crosswise tightly at 1/2 to 1 inch intervals with kitchen twine.


Cooking: When ready to cook, let porchetta sit at room temperature for two hours. Preheat oven to 500 degrees, and season the outside of the porchetta with salt. Roast on rack in baking sheet for 40 minutes, turning once. Reduce heat to 300 degrees and continue roasting, rotating the pan and turning the roast about every 20 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the center of the roast reads 140 degrees, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. If skin is not yet a deep brown mahogany, crank heat back up to 500, and roast for ten minutes more. 
 
 
Let rest for 30 minutes, before slicing into 1/2 inch round slices with a serrated knife. Serve as roasted main dish or serve in sandwiches, using ciabatta buns.
 
 
Top the sandwich as desired, with mustard, mayonnaise, fontina, argula, roasted red peppers and/or artichokes.
 
 

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