The past week or so has been a flurry of excessive birthday feasting, drinking and celebrating and, as such, has meant that my time for anything else, including blogging, has unfortunately been rather limited. To make up for it I am going to share with you an Anglo-Italian feast I prepared on Sunday night for the finale of my birthday celebrations. Inspired by many different foodie birthday gifts and a fabulously snazzy new camera from my better half I roasted up a stuffed porchetta, crispy crackling, gravy (of course) and crushed garlicky new potatoes. This twist on a Sunday roast provided much needed emotional and physical sustenance to rectify a weekend of over indulgence. It is one that should be enjoyed with close friends, anyone else will probably not appreciate the excessive use of garlic in the recipe….
1.5kg Pork Loin Roasting Joint (off the bone, skin on)
125g mixed mushrooms roughly chopped (any mixture will do, oyster, porcini, chanterelle, shiitake, chestnut etc.)
1.5 lemons, zest only
40g unsalted butter
1 small white bread roll (slightly stale)
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 tbsp fennel seeds
3 small carrots
2 sticks of celery
8 cloves of garlic
250ml hot chicken stock
Coarse Salt and Pepper
Usually porchetta would be made from boneless pork loin with the belly still attached to create a handy pocket for the stuffing. Unfortunately regular pork loin joints were all I could get my hands on so I used two pork loin joints to make up the 1.5kg weight. Firstly score the skin (making sure not to cut through to the meat) with a Stanley knife – regular knives are rarely sharp enough for this. This will help to crisp up the crackling later. To create room for the stuffing I butterflied the meat by cutting into the loin to open it out like the page of a book.
To make the stuffing, sauté the mushrooms on a medium to high heat in a little olive oil. Add three crushed cloves of garlic, the butter and around one tablespoon of thyme leaves, torn from the stem. Turn the heat down to medium and fry for around 7 minutes. Grate in the zest of one and a half lemons and season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper. Leave to cool. Meanwhile blitz your bread into breadcrumbs in a food processor. If, like me, your bread isn’t stale, tear it in half and place in a low oven for around 5 – 10 minutes to dry out. Once the mushrooms have cooled, stir in the bread crumbs. Preheat the oven to its highest possible temperature. Pack as much stuffing as you can into your butterflied pork and tightly roll back into a roasting joint. Tie up with string. In a roasting tray place your roughly chopped, unpeeled vegetables to make a trivet for the meat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a few sprigs of thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and place the meat on top.