This recipe uses a boneless pork shoulder butt. (You can adapt this recipe to a whole small piglet if you wish, by increasing the amount of herb mixture and the cooking time in the oven. In this case you will need two metal stands to hold the piece of wood on which the pig is staked. The stake usually is cut square at the ends, to allow for the turning of the meat.)
Serves four to six
Place the meat with the skin facing down. Identify the muscles running lengthwise near the middle of the roast. With a sharp knife cut between the muscles and use your fingers to develop pockets in the center of the meat (don’t cut through). You will fill these pockets with the herb and salt mixture.
- 3 – 3 ½ lbs boneless pork shoulder butt, trimmed of excess fat
- 3 teaspoons fennel seeds
- Small handful of fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems
- 6 sprigs of rosemary, leaves removed from stems
- 1 bunch fresh sage
- 4 laurel leaves
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 4 teaspoons coarse kosher or sea salt
- 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
- 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup white wine
Grind the peppercorns, salt, fennel and coriander seeds. Chop the herbs and mix with chopped garlic cloves. Mix the herbs, the spices, the olive oil and the wine in a small bowl. Work this mix into the pouches you cut in the roast, roll the meat and tie it together with kitchen twine. Rub the extra mix over the surface of the roast, cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight. Before cooking, leave out at room temperature for two hours.
Fire up the wood-burning oven making sure that you let a good amount of heat accumulate within the dome and floor, to release slowly over two hours of roasting. Move the embers to the right or left side of the oven.
When the oven is about 400 degrees F, it is time to put the porchetta in. Choose a shallow metal baking pan, just large enough to hold the roast. Close the door once the roast is inside the oven.
Once it is browned on one side, turn it. This may take 15 to 20 minutes or longer, depending on your oven. When both sides are browned, cover porchetta loosely with tin foil and cook for another 1 to 1 ½ hours. When the roast is done, it should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Remove from oven and let rest under the foil for about 20 minutes.
Pour the fat from roasting pan into another pan, place it back in the oven to deglaze with ½ cup white wine along with any juice from the roast.
Buon appetito from Los Angeles Ovenworks!