What is the yummiest thing on earth? Why the answer to that question is porchetta. Picture this if you will piglets. Crispy, golden, sizzling, hot crackling wrapped around tender juicy pork that has been smothered in cardamom, chilli and sea salt and stuffed with parmesan, garlic and rosemary. “Good lord” I hear you say and I do indeed agree.
It’s what This Little Pig likes to describe as a “it looks after itself” kind of meal. Now I don’t mean that it gets its own food, cleans up and showers and dresses itself. I mean you literally just pop it in the oven, turn it to a lower heat after 30 minutes and then you don’t touch it for 2 hours. I mean how easy is that piglets?
This fine swine liiiiiiterally went out and ran errands for two hours, walked in the door, turned off the oven and pulled out the porchetta and was scarfing juicy, crunchy crackling and pork within minutes of arriving home. There cannot be anything more satisfying on earth! So, roll up your winter woolly jumper and try out this incredible sensation. Hot tip: best served with a light salad to break through the juicy meatiness. Oink.
*NOTE: Where does one get a porchetta? Frank Torres Quality Butchers on Bulwer St of course! If this is not possible (although it’s definitely worth a drive there) most Italian butchers will do these although some you may have to order ahead with a phone call.
Crispy Roast Porchetta
Feeds: 4-6 Hungry Piglets.
Prep Time: 10 Mins. Cooking Time: 2-3 hrs
Ingredients of Porchetta Perfection:
1.8 x Kg Porchetta (stuffed with parmesan, garlic and rosemary – from Frank Torres)
2 x Tbs Olive Oil
1 x Tsp Chilli Flakes
15 x Cardamom Pods
1 x Tbs Sea Salt
TIPS FOR A GREAT CRACKLING:
- Allow your porchetta to sit on a plate uncovered in your fridge for ideally 24hours before cooking.
- Pat dry with a paper towel before dressing him to ensure there is NO moisture on the skin.
- An hour before you pop your porchetta in the oven, allow him to sit on the bench to warm up a little - he will cook a lot more evenly – monitor this if you do it in summer though, we don’t want a sweaty porchetta.
- Don’t panic if you don’t have time to do all the above things – the most important one is not letting him sit in plastic beforehand – even if it’s just an hour and paper towelling off the moisture.
- Once pork is cooked never leave him in the oven to rest as the crackling goes soggy - this can also be applied to potatoes - never leave in an turned off oven. Hot tips.
Method of Porchetta Magic:
- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
- Pop your salt (1 Tbs), chilli flakes (1 Tsp) and cardamom pods (15) in a mortar and pestle and grind until the seeds have come out of the cardamom skins. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle – you can still crush them by wrapping up in baking paper and smacking firmly with a heavy bowl or rolling pin.
- Discard all the cardamom skins and then drizzle your olive oil (2 Tbs) and your spice mix onto your porchetta and rub all over concentrating on the skin.
- Once he has been generously massaged, pop him in a tray and pop into the oven for 20-30 mins on 250 or until the skin starts turning golden brown.
- After this time turn the oven down to 160 degrees and then walk away for around 2 hours – this time is best used to gently clean up, have a bath, have a nap and read a good novel listening to the rain.
- When you check him, his skin should be really golden and bubbling and when you poke a fork in the juice that runs out should be clear.
- Once he is ready, slice him thickly, serve him with a crisp salad and an excellent glass of Pinot Gris. Now that is truly perfection.
- Please note: also delicious the next day in Pork Banh Mi rolls or in cheese, rocket and pork toasties. WOW.