Pronounced /por’ket:a/ (or sometimes “porketta”). If you are a “POP”, that would be a “pal of pork” then porchetta is just plain delicious! Well, please allow me to write freely here for a minute. This post, and any and all subsequent, were surely not to make it here. I had made the decision. I was shutting the kitchen (the virtual one) down. One day I logged on to my site and I got an database error. For no apparent reason. This site was up and running just the night before. So I troubleshot. Then I was overcome with frustration because the protections put in place to avert hacking kept locking me out via my IP every time I attempted to fix the issue. Oh, you don’t know how I wanted to crawl through the 22 inch monitor and do things to the hosting support person that would involve sharp objects, projectiles, and a small amount (not greedy) of C4. After much consideration, I had decided that I was packing it in. Then, just for shits and giggles, I log to my site. It comes up! WTF? So… I think I’ll keep the site at least until my hosting runs out and then I will soul search to see if I want to keep it going. I really do enjoy sharing my cooking experiences with you. In the meantime, I’ll share my porchetta with you all, how’s that?
So what is a porchetta? Basically porchetta is a pork (among other things) stuffed pig. Here is how Wiki defines a porchetta: “is a savory, fatty, and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition. The body of the pig is gutted, deboned, arranged carefully with layers of stuffing, meat, fat, and skin, then rolled, spitted, and roasted, traditionally over wood. Porchetta is usually heavily salted in addition to being stuffed with garlic, rosemary, fennel, or other herbs, often wild.” Sounds delicious doesn’t it? I read somewhere that there is a restaurant in NYC that is called Porchetta and all they serve are porchetta sandwiches. I think I’ll make the trip just for that experience and a slice of course.
My vision of this stuffed, wrapped, roasted, bundle of piggy perfection was to begin with the herbs. So I gathered some sage, thyme, basil, rosemary, and naturally a lot of fresh garlic. I went to my butcher and procured a 10 pound pork belly and a 15 pound loin. I used 1/2 of the belly and a little more than 1/3 of the loin. I rubbed the belly down with olive oil and mustard, generously salted and peppered it, added the herbs, and carefully placed the loin in the center of the belly.
The belly was then wrapped around the loin and carefully tied. I tied it relatively tightly to allow for shrinkage.
I then placed the bundle in my smoker to get a little hickory into it. This is something I will not do next time because it made the crackling, the outer skin for you piggy neophytes, tough. It was crispy, just a bit too crispy. Hey, we live and learn.
So the bundle smoked for about an hour, then it was off to a 350 degree-f oven until the temperature reached 175 degrees-f. This took about an hour and a half. I layered some new potatoes in the bottom the roaster to roast in all of that glorious pork fat.
The bundle took a 30 minute rest and then it was sliced. And I was happy!
While the bundle was resting, I was busy. I placed the roaster on the stove top and fired up two burners. The potatoes were in the oven keeping cozy. Into the pork fat went three tablespoons of butter and roughly 1/2 cup of flour. I stirred this into a smooth roux scraping up the goodness from the bottom of the roaster. I seasoned the gravy with a bit more salt and some white pepper.
Even with all the mishaps with my site, the hackers, the hosting outages, the database malfunctions, and whatnot, it is dishes like this that make me love to take pictures and tell you all, or all who will read, how lovely this was.
So when you are feeling a little adventurous and you have a hankering for some glorious pork, think, “what can be more tasty then a roasted belly stuffed with a loin, smothered in gravy?”