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.

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