Is there anything better than a good pork roast? That first bite (and every bite after) of perfectly roasted pork, the crunchy crackle you can hear cracking from a mile away and those delicious juices that make gravy so good you practically drown your spuds and beans in it.
Well actually, there IS something better: Porchetta. A fancy Italian name for rolled pork roast, it has all the above plus a deliciously savoury stuffing. It’s like the best parts of pork roast and chicken roast all rolled into one. Because it is rolled. Get it?
Here’s an easy recipe that you can cook up for a big family dinner with next to no effort at all, just a little bit of forward planning.
On your way home the day before you plan to cook, just stop in at Stafford City and pick up some Bangalow pork belly from Kurt’s Quality Meats. Ask the butcher to butterfly it and score the skin vertically at ½ cm intervals. They’ve got super sharp knives and this will make your life so much easier! While your there, grab the fresh ingredients from Fruit Fantasy & Deli and bread from Tang Bakery, along with the rest of the goodies you’ll need.
5kg pork belly, skin on
2 large red onions, finely chopped
Bunch of sage
10 grinds of pepper
3 thick slices bread
200mls white wine
½ bunch parsley, chopped
2 tbsp currants
2 tbsp smashed pistachios
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 brown onions
2 sticks of celery
2 tbsp flour
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
You’ll also need: Butchers twine
The night before:
Boil a kettle full of water, unfold the pork belly with the skin side in a colander in the sink and pour half the kettle’s contents over the scored skin. Transfer to a board, pat dry with paper towel and rub a generous handful of salt into the skin. Leave it on a wire rack, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. This will dry the skin out and encourage a super crispy crackle.
The night of:
Pre-heat the oven to 220C.
Heat a fry pan over medium heat with a generous amount of olive oil and the butter. Fry the red onion and sage leaves with the salt, nutmeg and pepper until the onions are soft and golden.
Break up the bread in to a bowl and pour in white wine. Add chopped parsley, currants, pistachios, garlic and lemon zest. Add cooked onions to the bowl, give it a really good stir and set aside. It will be more moist than usual stuffing.
Place pork flat on your bench, skin side down. Spread the stuffing evenly over the surface, right to the edges. Now start rolling the meat tightly, end to skin, so that you end up with a snail log of meat. Tie the log with butchers twine at 2 cm intervals down the length of the pork, then rub with the lemon juice, some olive oil and salt.
Instead of baking the pork on a rack in a roasting pan, chop the apples, carrots, onions and celery and use them to elevate the meat. As the pork cooks, the vegetables not only release flavour into the meat, but make a great flavour base for some pan gravy.
Pop your pork into the oven for 30 minutes, until the crackle, crackles. Reduce the oven to 180C and cook for a further 1.5 hours. Remove the meat from the tray and rest for half an hour.
Meanwhile, place the roasting tray over a medium heat on the stove top. Sprinkle over flour and stir and scrape with a fork to dislodge all the dark bits from the bottom of the tray. Pour in stock a little at a time. Bring to the boil and cook until thickened to a gravy consistency, stirring consistently so no lumps form.
Strain the gravy through a sieve, pressing with a spoon to squeeze out every drop, then discard the vegetables. Add any juices from the pork to the gravy that have been captured on your resting tray. Stir well, season to taste and pour into a gravy jug.
Remove the string from the pork and slice, ready to serve with crunchy roast potatoes, apple sauce and sautéed greens.
Happy crackle eating!
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