Monday, October 8, 2012

Porchetta Basics

Porchetta in Italian is an herb stuffed rolled shoulder of Pork that is roasted low and slow to tender deliciousness.  It can be as fancy or as simple as you like.  My example is of a butterflied shoulder rubbed with herbs and topped with pork belly.  Once it is tied together and roasted the belly fuses itself to the shoulder and everything is sliced in one piece.  The shoulder is herby and delicious by itself, but the pork belly adds a layer of richness and moisture that truly can't be beaten.

This is the shoulder.  Once it's butterflied it should lay as flat as possible.  The whole thing gets rolled up and tied so it stays compact and even.  At this stage it is rubbed all over with an herb paste.  It is a combination of garlic, parsley, sage, thyme and basil.  You just buzz it all in a Cuisinart with olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper.  It looks like this...
There's no wrong way to do this.  You could even go old school and go at your herbs with a knife and simply stir in the olive oil, Salt and Pepper.

Once you've got the shoulder seasoned it's time for the Pork Belly, also known as raw bacon!  Pork Belly is where bacon comes from and in it's raw uncured state it is a thing of deliciousness all by itself!  It roasts and braises beautifully.  Sliced thinly it is rich and fatty and awesome.  Use sparingly, you know, like covering a whole roast!
Belly usually comes with the skin on.  If so you can have your butcher remove it.  And if you didn't know, pork belly skin is where the greatest of all southern snack foods comes from, PORK RINDS! 

Once you get the skin off rub the belly all over with the marinade.  Lay the belly on your work surface fat side down, place the shoulder on top and roll that bad boy up with your hands!  It doesn't have to be perfect that's what tying is for.  Place it seam side down and grab some butchers twine.  If you don't have any, ask your butcher.  They'll usually include it for free.  BONUS!
You're going to want to tie it about every inch and a half all the way to the end of the roast.  Once you get it hogtied, that's right, HOGTIED!  Slather that baby once more with your herb rub season all over with Salt and Pepper and put that sexy beast in the over at about 300 degrees for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  It will get golden, your house will be amazing smelling, your guests will be ravenous from the moment they walk in your door and smell it.  Be sure to let it rest for about 15 minutes before you slice it.  Remove all the string and you'll be amazed, it's all one piece!  Slice into it and it will hold together and look like this....
See that beautiful ring of herbs there?  Oh yeah baby that's the stuff!  To view the rest of the components of this wonderful meal, visit my Facebook page at Kelly Lehman.  Part of the Kelly Lehman Personal Chef Service.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Best Part of My Job

So the business is heading into it's 6th month.  Half a year has flown by and I don't know how it's happened so fast, but I am racing to get to the next 6 months and see what the 1 year mark has to show.  But I have to say, this has been one of the best experiences of my life.  It's been challenging, nervewracking and thrilling.  And the absolute best part of my job has been working with and for the clients I've developed over this amazing period of time.

My main reason for starting a Personal Chef business was the fact that I wanted to work one on one with people again.  When you work in the restaurant business you can put out plate after plate of food all at a breakneck pace and never once see the face of someone who eats it.  Do they like it?  Are they thrilled?  Do they want to throw the plate back in your face?  I'll never know.  And the issue with me was that I truly cared about knowing the answers to those questions.  

Food for me is an expression of love, caring and nurturing.  I don't take shortcuts.  That soup I made you started with stock made with the chicken bones I roasted and then covered with water and aromatics and turned into the best Chicken Noodle Soup you've ever had.  Everything I make starts from scratch.  And everything I serve you comes from a starting point of wanting to make something you'll absolutely love.

So when a client walks into their house after a long day at work and comes into the kitchen to find me finishing up and says: "My God the house smells fantastic!  And I don't have to do anything but enjoy it!  I love you."  Well you've got to know, that's the best part of my job.  And I love you right back.  And I do that for every client I have.  You may only want a turkey sandwich from me, but you'll get a Turkey Sandwich with smoked paprika aioli and most likely tomatoes from my own garden.  Or dishes with herbs I've grown myself.  Little touches like that are just an automatic extension of who I am as a chef.  It's who I am as Your Personal Chef.  

So Thanks!  Whats the best part of my job?  You are.