Porchetta (Version 2, Superbowl Sunday)
I like to marinate my cut of meat the day before in a cup of white wine. You do not have to. I begin the morning before I will place it in the oven.
Here in the United States, it's a real challenge to find a good cut of Pork for this dish. In Italy, the whole Pork is usually roasted by a vender selling delicious sandwiches on the side of the road. At home, the Pig, belly cut, is usually flatter than most around the Pig, so it's easiest to handle for the home cook. It also requires less work than di-boning a Butt roast. I am in Tupelo, Mississippi where pulled pork is everywhere covered in sweet BBQ sauce. They have never had my Porchetta and it's to bad. Pork doesn't need to be covered up in BBQ sauce to be good. Here is my version. I hope you agree, it's good. Just prepare it the night before. Place it in the low oven, and go to sleep. In the morning there will be a surprise before your very eyes. Dinner is ready! Turn your oven off and let it rest. Lunch or dinner, it will be very hard to resist. You will be very tempted to give it a taste. Buon Appetito!
Ingredients: One 8-10 pound Pork Belly/ Boston Butt Roast bone in. (You will di-bone, if you are using Pork from the belly, you will pound and flatten)
8-10 cloves of garlic/ cleaned/ peeled
4 tablespoons fennel seeds (toasted in the pan with a pinch of salt for about 5 minutes. You will notice the fennel will begin to be fragrant. Do not burn them. If you do, throw them away and start again).
If you are using fresh fennel Cut your fennel bulb in pieces and place in the food processor and chop fine. Add one tablespoon of toasted fennel seeds to your fresh fennel). Set this aside in bowl.
3 teaspoons of salt
3 teaspoons of pepper
2 tablespoons of ground sage
8 springs of rosemary, removing the rosemary from the stems, place in food processor chop, set in your bowl with your fennel
Place all your chopped ingredients into a bowl and mix in your olive oil. Set aside.
1/4 cup olive oil (for your paste)
Place your meet on a large cutting board. Place your knife along the bone and cut around the bone. Open up your cut of meat in half, and then again in a Third. Lay the meat fat side down on your board. Your piece of meat is now laying out in length, rather than sitting up in height. You should have a rather flat piece of meat. (Do not be alarmed if it's uneven, we will be rolling it up in just a minute).
Place a piece of wax paper, parchment or saran wrap over your meat, pound and flatten. Take your bowl of herbs, garlic, fennel, seeds, etc. and add your olive oil salt and pepper. You should get a little pasty concoction that smells wonderful. Make tiny slits (Be careful not to cut through). across your flattened meat and massage your meat with your paste. You should have enough for the entire piece but don't worry, it will be rolled and filled with flavor.
Preheat your oven to 225 degrees.
Carefully roll your meat as tightly as possible. At this point, I like to roll a piece of heavy duty wrap around it and set it in the pan and into the refrigerator to take shape (optional). Quickly remove from refrigerator after 30 minutes, remove your paper and tie up your roast. Brush a tablespoon or two of olive oil across the top.
Wrap in foil very well. Seal in the entire roast and lay on a cookie sheet or large enough baking pan. Place in a 225 degree oven for 9-10 hours. My general rule is one hour per pound on low heat. I placed it in the oven overnight.
In the morning, turn your oven off. Leave it in the oven until about an hour before serving. You will heat it up later or serve at room temperature after broiling the top).(
Carefully remove from oven. Turn your package over on the baking sheet. Cut across the top and place your oven on broil. Set with the foil opened well but not removed, back in the oven for 7-9 minutes. Check on it carefully as you don't want the top to burn just crisp up.
Remove from oven and let rest a few minutes until foil cools down. Then carefully pull out and remove foil. Remove your strings, slice and serve. It will fall apart very easily. Traditionally slice if you can. It will be hard not to have a taste in that moment. Enjoy!
Special note: Porchetta can be found throughout Italy and varies in cooking style Regionally and even by neighboring towns. They are all quite similar in taste. Wild fennel as well as fresh Pork, gives it a more intense flavor. Enjoy!
Do not worry about how large the Porchetta looks wrapped up. In the morning, you will notice some shrinkage inside the tightly wrapped package. This is normal due to fat content.
DO NOT USE PORK LOIN. IT WILL NOT WORK.