Anglo-Italian Porchetta

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….

Roast Porchetta with Mushroom and Thyme Stuffing served with Crushed New Potatoes

Anglo-Italian Porchetta with a Mushroom, Garlic and Thyme Stuffing 

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
2 onions
8 cloves of garlic
500ml cider
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.

Butterflied Pork LoinButterflied Pork Loin Butterflied Pork LoinPork Loin with Mushroom Stuffing

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. Rolled and Stuffed Porchetta 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.

  Onions, carrot, celeryPorchettaLightly crush the fennel seeds with 2 teaspoons of course salt and rub into the pork skin. Scatter the tray with the remaining garlic cloves, unpeeled.

Place into your preheated oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 180°C. After 45 minutes, remove from the oven and pour 250ml of cider into the tin (not on to the pork). Place back in the oven for another 45 minutes.
Roasted PorchettaOnce cooked, remove from the oven. Your pork will be done but the crackling will need a final blast. Remove the string and carefully cut away the crackling. Place on a baking tray and back into the oven at 220°C for 20 minutes whilst your pork rests under some foil.
Meanwhile make the gravy. Put the roasting tray on a low heat, hold at an angle so the liquid falls into one corner and whisk 2 tablespoons of flour into the juices. Next pour in the remaining cider and turn up the heat. Stir vigorously to release all the flavourful bits stuck to the bottom of the tray. Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Strain, taste and season.
After the pork has rested, cut into 1cm slices and serve with the crispy crackling and gravy. To make the crushed new potatoes, simply boil Jersey Royal new potatoes in salted water until cooked. Lightly crush with two generous knobs of butter, 2 minced garlic cloves, a handful of thyme leaves and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as appropriate.
Roast Pork Loin with Mushroom Stuffing
Roast Pork Loin with Mushroom Stuffing
Porchetta with Wild Mushrooms, Crushed New Potatoes and Cabbage

 

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