For the longest time, I considered porchetta, the slow-roasted Italian pork dish, an order-at-a-restaurant-only entrée; it seemed too hard to make at home. For a recent holiday dinner party, however, I wanted to serve roast pork, so I threw caution to the wind and wound up making a delicious variation of the flavorful dish.
Porchetta takes a couple of hours to roast, but it's guaranteed to fill the house with a wonderful porky rosemary fragrance. To ensure that you get the correct cut, ask your butcher if he carries it a week before you plan on cooking the pork. With its succulent and well-seasoned meat, the resulting pork is a real crowd-pleaser. Read ahead for the highly-recommended porchetta recipe.
4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 bulb fennel, fronds chopped and reserved, bulb thinly sliced
2 pounds ground pork shoulder (you can use already-made sausages if need be)
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 eggs, beaten
20 fresh sage leaves
3 fresh thyme sprigs, stems removed
3 sprigs rosemary, stems removed
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, slightly toasted
1 1/2 teaspoons medium-coarse sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
4 red onions, halved
1 cup white wine or chicken broth
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Have your butcher butterfly pork shoulder to an even 1 inch thickness, you should have a flat piece of meat about 8 inches by 14 inches. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a sauté pan, heat olive oil until smoking. Add the onion and fennel bulb and sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add ground pork, fennel seeds, pepper, rosemary and garlic and cook until the mixture assumes a light color, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Add chopped fennel leaves and eggs and mix well.
- Meanwhile, make the rub: in a food processor or by hand, finely chop sage, thyme, rosemary and garlic together. Place mixture in a small bowl; add fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Stir well.
- Spread the sausage mixture over pork loin and roll up like a jelly roll. Tie with butchers twine. Slather the entire roast with the rub.
- Place in roast pan on top of halved red onions. Place in oven and roast for 2 1/2 hours, until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F. After the first 45 minutes, pour half of the wine or chicken broth over the pork. Repeat in another 45 minutes with the remaining wine/broth.
- Remove and allow to rest for 10 to 20 minutes. Slice into 1 inch thick pieces and serve.
- Main Dishes, Pork