Hog roasts are great BUT, the Italians answer to a hog roast might just be one of the best things ever!
Herby, zingy stuffing, melt in your mouth pork belly and the most incredible cracking all stuffed in a bun.
To make the stuffing, grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar until coarsely broken up and transfer to a bowl. Add the herbs, garlic and lemon zest and around 2/3rds of the limoncello to form a kind of paste. Season, and set to one side until required.
To prepare the pork belly, use a sharp boning knife to remove the skin leaving it attached at one end- imagine you want the skin to open up from the meat like a book!
Use a sharp pairing knife or fork to stab the skin all over- these tiny holes are vital for our crackling so don’t skip this step and make sure to check over each area that you have plenty of holes.
Next, use a pairing knife to score the meat diagonally all over taking care not to cut through the meat at any point. Season the meat heavily with salt and douse it with the remaining limoncello, rubbing the booze and the seasoning all over and into the gaps before covering with the stuffing.
Starting at the end where the skin is no longer attached, roll the meat into a swiss roll type shape topward the skin end. Once you get to the skin end, wrap the skin around the ‘swiss roll’ you’ve just made
Tie the joint securely with butchers string before placing on a cooling rack with a tray underneath. Place the tray in the fridge, uncovered, for 24-48 hours.
When the time comes to cook the porchetta, you need to ensure the oven is fully saturated with heat- perhaps a wood fired shakshuka for breakfast so you can cook the pork in the afternoon! You’re looking for a steady 200-240 degrees temperature in the oven with no flame presence.
Remove the tray from the fridge and rub the skin with a little olive oil and plenty of salt, add 300ml of water to the bottom of the tray and pop into the oven. Place the door on the oven and leave to cook for 3 ½-4 hours, checking occasionally as it cooks.
Allow the pork to rest before carving into slices and serving in buns with some salad and red onions
Step 10 (Optional);
If you plan to fire up the oven to cook any garnishes, you can use that heat to take that crackling to the next level! Simply slide the tray back into the oven and you’ll begin to see the skin of the pork bubble- similar the South American chiccarons!
1 2-3kg Pork Belly, ribs removed, skin unscored
For the stuffing;
3 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
2 Bunches of Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp Rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp Thyme Leaves, chopped
1 Lemon, zest
6-8 Garlic Cloves, grated
Generous pinch of chilli flakes