Our good friend Gary, from Northern California has been into wine making with his brother, and he was nice enough to send us a few bottles of their latest creation to sample. So when the weatherman predicted yet another winter snow storm, I thought it was time to make some slow roasted pork to go with the Cabernet Sauvignon aptly named “Pig Farm”
Porchetta, pronounced por’ket:a, is a Italian dish, traditionally made by cooking a whole pig, stuffed with herbs and onions over a wood fire.
I decided to take a more modern day approach to this recipe, opting to stuff a boneless pork shoulder in a very low oven (275 degrees) for 10 hours, until the Porchetta surrendered into a state of moist, fall apart tender deliciousness. ( Think Italian barbecue, infused with fresh herbs and a crisp salty crust.)
On a day when we were at home, not going anywhere with a blizzard underway outside, the fragrance of all that slow roasting goodness was aromatherapy; a reminder of what was coming.
This porchetta makes a fantastic entree for a casual winter dinner party. Pork shoulder is an economical cut of meat, and when prepared in this way, it becomes something wonderful without a lot of fuss. A dinner like this is something that should be shared with friends; which is exactly what we did.
I served the Porchetta with Risotto and Broccholi Rabe, flavors that worked really well with the pork. We sipped the Ferme de Cochon and enjoyed our cozy rustic supper at home, forgetting about all of the snow we would be shoveling in the morning!
I highly recommend you give this one a try.
Here’s a look at the steps to making Porchetta:
Cook the onions and basil in olive oil, just long enough to let them sweat, about 10 minutes
Spread the onion/basil mixture evenly over the pork.
Top with parsley and mint.
Roll it up, tie it with butcher’s twine, pop it in the oven and say “night, night”.
Slow Roasted Fennel Porchetta
Ask your butcher to debone and butterfly the pork shoulder for you to save a step.
1 5-6 pound boneless pork shoulder, butterflied so that you have a rectangle of even thickness
1.5 ounces fennel seeds, ground
1.25 ounces ground coriander
2 tablespoons sea salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
Mix all spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl.
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cups thinly sliced sweet onions, such as Vidalia (from about 2 large onions)
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1 large bunch parsley, stems trimmed
1 cup fresh mint leaves
In a large saute pan, heat olive oil and add onions and basil, cooking over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until just softened. Cool slightly before continuing.
Meanwhile, spread the spice rub on both sides of buterflied pork shoulder. Spread filling over pork. Top with parsley and mint.
Starting at one short end of the pork shoulder, carefully roll the pork and stuffing into a log, tucking in any filling that escapes. Finish seam side down. Using Butcher’s twine, tie the roast in 2-inch increments to secure roast.
Place some carrots and celery in a roasting pan (acting as a roasting tray) and the porchetta on top of that.
Roast the porchetta in a 275 degree oven for 10 hours. Let rest 10 minutes. Break apart with a couple of forks; the meat will fall apart before your eyes. Serve with risotto and bitter greens, such as broccholi rabe.
8-10 entree servings
Wondering what to do with any leftover Porchetta?
Stay tuned for my next post: Porchetta Bean Stew