LC Reason #4683 Why We Love Italy Note
There’s no shortage of reasons why someone would sono innamorato with Italy. We think we’re up to reason #4682 or so, actually. And yet the list grows longer and longer. Those amongst you who are keeping count, you’re going to want to include this porchetta recipe to the list seeing as it’s being described as “a beautifully seasoned, boldly spiced, highly aromatic, succulent, handsome chunk of pig.” Folks are also calling it “an exceptionally flavorful, moist, and tender pork roast,” and are saying “YES, I am making it as my second meat for Thanksgiving.” We’ll just consider it reason #4683.
- Quick Glance
- 25 M
- 1 D, 3 H
- Serves 8 to 12
In a small pan or skillet, toast the fennel seeds over medium-low heat until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the seeds to a mortar and pestle and pound until finely ground.
In a small bowl, combine the garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and freshly ground fennel seeds until really well combined. This is your cure.
Pat the pork shoulder completely dry with paper towels. Rub the pork shoulder on all sides with the cure, making sure you season both the inside and outside of the meat. Using kitchen twine, truss the pork shoulder. (This means gently roll the pork and tie it crosswise with pieces of butcher’s string at 1/2-inch (1-centimeter) intervals. Try to keep as much of the garlic and herb rub inside the pork as possible, although if a little filling spills out, it’s not the end of the world.)
Place the trussed pork shoulder on a large plate or in a baking dish and refrigerate, uncovered, for about 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (232°C) and position the rack in the middle of the oven.
Place the pork in a large roasting pan. Rub the pork all over with the olive oil and add the chicken stock and wine to the pan. Roast the pork, uncovered, until the skin starts to crisp, 25 to 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F (149°C) and continue to roast until the pork is fork-tender, about 3 hours more.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board and let it rest for about 30 minutes before carving.
Recipe Testers' Tips
I typically shy away from making pork unless it is in bacon form. This porchetta recipe might have changed my entire perception of the more humble cuts of pig, showcasing it as a shining star with endless variations. The result? A beautifully seasoned, boldly spiced, highly aromatic, succulent, handsome chunk of pig. And YES, I am making it as my second meat for Thanksgiving. The hardest part of the recipe for me personally was rolling the chunk of meat into a cylinder. Also, I confess I cheated and used store-brought stock. (I didn't think the little piggy shoulder would protest much.) I soaked some pita bread in the au jus left in the roasting pan and made sandwiches with it. You can always thicken the juices and serve them on the side. They're too flavorful to throw away.
This porchetta recipe makes an exceptionally flavorful, moist, and tender pork roast. The recipe was easy to follow and resulted in a wonderful roast that didn't fall apart. My roast was half the size called for (about 3 1/2 pounds), and it fed 6 of us with lots left over, so I'd say the full recipe could serve 12. I made the rub and let the roast sit for 23 hours in the fridge. I roasted it at 450°F for 40 minutes to get a good crust (it was still soft after 30 minutes) and then at 300°F for 2 hours and 50 minutes. After letting it rest for 20 minutes, I carved it and it was very tender, though it held up very well to slicing. We loaded up warm pita bread with thin slices of porchetta and some assorted pickled vegetables. Yum!
Delicious. I used a convection oven for the crisp part, which took 22 minutes, and a regular oven for finishing it, which took 3 hours.