Porchetta should be a rolled joint that combines loin and belly, however, this is unusual for UK butchers and rolled belly works just as well.
1.5 kilo Belly Pork (skin on but ribs out)
2 x Good, big butchers sausages (Cumberland in this recipie)
Glass white wine
Herbs: Rosemary, parsley and sage – finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
Garlic – lots of it and new season if you can get it – finely sliced
Prepare the stuffing
Dry fry the fennel seeds until fragrant and grind (one of those occasions it’s better to use a pestle and mortar. You’re not looking for a fine powder.)
Skin the sausage and mix with the herbs, garlic, fennel and lemon zest.
Prepare the pork
Score the skin (a modelling shop scalpel works very well).
Turn it meat side up. It’s likely that what your butcher has given you will have a thicker half and a thinner half. With a sharp (boning) knife cut through the meat of the thicker side, leaving it attached at the far end, creating a flap.
Now season the meat with Maldon salt, including both sides of the flap. Opening the flap out press the stuffing mixture into a thin layer that covers the main body of the meat. Now fold the flap back over the stuffing.
Tying the Joint
Now fold the ends of the joint up to meet to create a cylinder. Tie this with butcher’s string at regular intervals. You could do this with 10 individual pieces of string along the cylinder. But if you want it to look pretty, here’s a guide to do doing it like the butcher.
Roasting the Porchetta
Once the joint is tied, rub all over with a little olive oil, followed by a little fine salt all over the skin.
Make a trivet of celery sticks and place the joint on top (you could use carrot or onion, or whatever veg you’ve got available).
Roast for 30 mins in a 230c oven, turning the joint about every 10 mins, to let the crackling begin to puff.
[ If you like puffy crackling, the biggest factor is dry skin. To get the best results ask your butcher for a piece of pork with good dry skin. If the skin is soft and moist you’ll never achieve that lightness you desire. But if that’s not possible, leaving in the fridge uncovered for a day or 2 helps. A little vinegar over the skin helps too. ]
Now take the roasting pan and pour off the excess fat (reserve for later) and deglaze with a glass of Italian white wine in a small saucepan, cook out 1/2 teaspoon of flour in some of the reserved pork fat. Now add the deglazed wine juices and a cup of chicken stock (this one time when a good quality stock cube will do it). Add a good slug of double cream and reduce by at least 1/3 until it’s tasting really good. Add a small handful of grated Parmesan and a nice lump of Gorgonzola. Whisk until combined and season if required.
[ To save buying white wine each time you want to cook with it get one of those supermarket deals on a bottle at about £5. Boil off all the alcohol, divide into 5 or 6 small containers and freeze until you need them. Perfect for gravies, sauces and stews.]
Once sauce is ready and Porchetta has rested, slice the meat as thinly as that crackling will allow. Pour sauce and serve with buttered Savoy cabbage (spinach would also be great) and perhaps some fried potatoes, though we were naughty enough to choose Yorkshire puddings (for Yorkshire Puddings see this earlier post Roast Forerib of Beef )