P-o-r-c-h-e-t-t-a – everything about it is wonderful – moist, tender, flavorful meat, melt in your mouth fatty goodness and crispy skin, hog heaven! This months' Bon Appetit magazine named Porchetta as the dish of the year. From New York, to Austin, to San Francisco and Seattle, everybody is reveling about it. It’s reminiscent of the lechon in the Philippines that Anthony Bourdain ranked #1 in the Hierarchy of Pork or the Sagra della Porchetta in Austin.
Guess what I’m having for dinner in two days? You guessed right. I have a slab of pork belly in the reefer that I’m supposed to make adobo with, but heck, that can wait alright. Why two days? It takes two days to prepare a good porchetta, but I assure you, it’s worth the wait.
PorchettaBon Appetit Magazine, September 2011
1 5–6-pound piece fresh pork belly, skin on
1 (trimmed) 2-3 lbs boneless, center-cut pork loin
3 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 orange, seeded, thinly sliced
Put belly skin side down; arrange loin in center. Roll belly around loin so the short ends of the belly meet. If any of the belly or loin overhangs, trim meat. Unroll; set loin aside.
Toast fennel seeds and red pepper flakes in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Tip spices into a bowl; let cool. Finely grind spices in a spice mill and transfer to a small bowl, along with the sage, rosemary, and garlic; set fennel mixture aside.
Assemble porchetta according to steps 1-5 below.
Refrigerate roast, uncovered, for 1-2 days to allow skin to air-dry; pat occasionally with paper towels.
Let porchetta sit at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat oven to 500°. Season porchetta with salt. Roast on rack in baking sheet, turning once, for 40 minutes. Reduce heat to 300° and continue roasting, rotating the pan and turning porchetta occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 145°, 1 1/2-2 hours more. If skin is not yet deep brown and crisp, increase heat to 500° and roast for 10 minutes more. Let rest for 30 minutes. Using a serrated knife, slice into 1/2" rounds.
- Set belly skin side down. Using a knife, score the belly flesh in a checkerboard pattern 1/3" deep so roast will cook evenly.
- Flip belly skin side up. Using a paring knife, poke dozens of 1/8"-deep holes through skin all over belly. Don't be gentle! Keep poking.
- Using the jagged edge of a meat mallet, pound skin all over for 3 minutes to tenderize, which will help make skin crispy when roasted.
- Turn belly and generously salt both it and loin; rub both with fennel mixture. Arrange loin down middle of belly. Top with orange slices.
- Roll belly around loin; tie crosswise with kitchen twine at 1/2" intervals. Trim twine. Transfer roast to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.