Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Porchetta! Prego!

Midsummer celebrations are out of the way for another year. And my, how we stuck to the Finnish traditions: wellies, jumpers and woolly scarves galore... We had fun though. We didn't drown, break up, cheat, fight or even land in jail. Even our wine consumption bordered on moderate. Crikey - is this what it feels like to be a grown up? But before we dive into the culinary extravaganza that was our Midsummer, let's get cracking with the ones in the queue first. And first up is this treat from our recent leisurely Sunday lunch. For the teasers as to what's coming up, don't forget the blog's Facebook-page!

Erm... you know how a little while back I was all giddy with spring and summer and all the fresh produce and how it was time for "rich, meaty dishes to take back seat for a while"? Right on. Seems to fall into the same category as meeting a friend for a drink. It just never pans out that way.

Pork - I just can't get enough of it. And once we're through with +3°c weather (yes, for real) and get to kick off BBQ-season... what's there not to like! Especially pork belly has become a firm favourite of mine. After Filippino-style lechon liempo and Andalusian chicharrones it's time to pay homage to Italian traditions: porchetta, per favore!

Porchetta is a delicacy of Central Italy and Rome in particular and that's where I, too, discovered it. It's good both warm and cold (try in on a slice of ciabatta!) so get a piece as big as you can possibly carry home - you'll keep on wanting more. Lemon zest can be substituted with orange zest too. And with herbs you can't be too generous!

Serves 4-6

2 kg (organic) pork belly, boneless
6 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fennel seeds
8 sprigs of rosemary (about 2 tbsp when chopped)
1/2 bunch of thyme, leaves chopped (about 2 tbsp)
handful of sage leaves (about 2 tbsp when chopped)
the zest of 1/ 2 lemon
2 tsp dried chilli flakes
black pepper

Using a pestle and mortar crush the garlic with oil and salt to a paste. Toast fennel seeds on a hot, dry pan (careful they don't burn), crush and add into the garlic paste with finely grated lemon zest. Chop the herbs. Rub the garlic paste on the pork flesh and spread the herbs on top of that. Roll tightly and secure with butcher's twine.

Let season in the fridge (uncovered) for at least a good couple of hours or overnight. Take into room temperature a couple of hours before roasting it. Dry the skin and rub some salt on that side too. Drizzle a little of olive oil on top of the roll and place into a roasting tin. Roast at 180° for half an hour, turning halfway through. Then lower the temperature to 160, cover the roll with foil and continue cooking for another 2-3 hours until the temperature is 75-78°c. 

(Foil prevents the crackling from forming which makes this easier to cut into thin slices).

Let cool and cut into slices.

PS. Oh, remember how I was told I and my Italian-inspired menu had put a curse on the England- Italy game? Well, we'll just have to see what happens next: over the weekend I made GERMAN potato salad...!




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