If you have never heard of porchetta before, well, let me introduce you to it. Pronounced as ‘porketta’, yes, that is a lot of pork, porchetta is basically a whole lot of pork stuffed with a bunch of delicious herbs as well as a bunch more pork. I have been wanting to make porchetta for some time now, and this past holiday season was the perfect time. If you have been following my recipes, you should probably know by now that I love cooking, but I love cooking during the holidays. As our families often compete (I will use that word lightly) for hosting the holiday feast, I was fortunate enough to cook both Thanksgiving, and Christmas meals this year.
As the Christmas meal often stems around a bone in, spiral ham (which I love), I decided to surprise the family with something new. I wanted them to experience a whole new dish, and something that is elegant in its own right. The porchetta. Days prior to the holiday feast, I began preparing the porchetta. A bit labor intensive, and time consuming, the end result is nothing but spectacular.
Lets get started.
Ingredients: [Print this Recipe]
- 11 lb pork belly, thick skin in tact
- 6 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of sage, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup of fresh thyme, chopped
- 2 tbsp toasted fennel, ground
- 3 tbsp salt
- 2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 2 heads of garlic, minced
- olive oil
- 15 slices of pancetta, thinly sliced
- 4 lb pork shoulder, butter flied
- Additional Salt, pepper, chopped rosemary, thyme, sage
- 3 large carrots
- 3 celery ribs
- 3 cups of chicken stock
- butcher’s twine
Begin by cutting the meat side of the pork belly into crisscross incisions being careful not to cut through the skin. Do this for the whole pork belly.
Add the minced garlic, and herbs to a bowl. Drizzle enough olive oil until it just becomes wet. Set aside.
Generously season the pork belly with salt and pepper. Take the garlic and herb mixture and begin massaging it into the pork belly, making sure you get into all of the scoring of the meat. Roll, and securely wrap it in plastic wrap. Place this in the refrigerator for 3 days.
To the pork shoulder, season with some salt, pepper, and the additional herbs, just enough to lightly coat. Lay down the pancetta on a flat surface, making it a blanket for your pork shoulder. Add the shoulder to the pancetta, and carefully roll into place. Place in a large plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for 3 days.
When you are ready to prepare the porchetta, take the shoulder and belly from the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature. Unroll the pork belly. To the top of the pork belly, add the pork shoulder, making sure everything is nice and snug. Roll the porchetta, lengthwise, into a roll. Take your kitchen twine and begin securing the porchetta.
Now what you end up with is a pretty darn long pork roll. My guess is that it will be too long for your roasting pan, so what I did is simply cut the porchetta in half and roasting them in two separate roasting pans. With that said, to the bottom of your roasting pan, add the carrots and the celery stalks, and the chicken stock, laying the porchetta, skin side up, on top of the vegetables. Drizzle a bit of olive oil onto the skin and massage it all over the skin. Season with a bit more salt.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.
Lay your roasting pan in the preheated oven, and cook for roughly 45 minutes. Take in the smell, it’s amazing. Reduce to 300 degrees, and begin basting the top of the skin with the pan juices every 30-40 minutes.
Your total cook time for the porchetta will be roughly 4 hours. After this time, remove the porchetta from the oven and onto your cutting board. Let this rest for about 20 minutes so that all of the juices distribute throughout the porchetta.
Remove the butcher’s twine and discard. With a serrated knife, or better yet if you have an electric knife, begin slicing through the crisp pork skin, then through the succulent pork. Cut into rounds if you can. Plate on a large serving dish for your guests.
A layer of crisp pork fat, then a wonderful blend of herbs and pancetta, followed by succulent pork shoulder, every bite is succulent and extremely delicious. This porchetta was the perfect meal to serve lots of people, inexpensive compared to most other holiday meals, and I had plenty of leftovers for some really killer sandwiches.