Beware: The roast needs to be cooked in the oven for more than 3 hours, so plan accordingly. The result will be quite something, though. Yes, it’s very fatty meat, but that’s what makes this so delicious. This dish is impossible to ruin; if you leave it in the oven for 30 minutes too long it won’t matter. Serve with something fresh-zesty. I like the horseradish mustard (see recipe below), for example. Such a substantial roulade serves a crowd, and whatever you have left over (if you manage to not finish all of it) will still be delicious the day after.
1 pork belly (at least 4 1/2 pounds/2 kg), without rind
Salt and Sichuan or black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the roasting pan
FOR THE FILLING
5 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus some extra
3 tablespoons Sichuan or black peppercorns, crushed in a mortar
1 large bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 1 3/4 ounces/50 g), coarsely chopped
1 bunch thyme, finely chopped
Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh rosemary, finely chopped
Grated zest of 2 oranges
Seeds from 6 to 8 cardamom pods, crushed in a mortar
6 small cloves garlic, minced
About 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (80 g) hazelnuts, briefly toasted in a skillet, coarsely chopped
Kitchen twine: cut 8 (12-inch/ 30-cm) pieces
Place the meat on a cutting board, skin side facing up. Use a sharp knife to score the fat, making shallow cuts spaced about 1/3 inch (8 mm) apart. Turn the pork belly over. Sprinkle with salt and some Sichuan peppercorn.
Combine all ingredients for the filling and spread it out over the meat. Tightly roll up the meat and carefully tie it together using the pieces of kitchen twine you have ready. Start in the middle, then tie up the ends, then tie twine in the spaces between.
Rub the outside of your roulade with salt and Sichuan peppercorn as well. Refrigerate until ready to roast. You can do this a day early so the meat will marinate even better.
Remove the meat from the fridge at least an hour in advance, allowing it to reach room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
Grease a roasting pan with some oil and put in the roulade. Roast for 20 minutes, lower the temperature to 300°F (150°C), and thoroughly cover the roulade with aluminum foil. Cook for another 2½ hours. Remove the foil and baste the meat with the liquid from the roasting pan. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes more, until the crust has nicely browned.
Remove the porchetta from the roasting pan and let rest on a carving board for 15 minutes. Sometimes it’s pretty stuck so you may have to carefully pry it loose from the pan. Cut into thin slices. Eat warm or cold.
Makes 1/2 jar (7/8 cup/200 ml)
5 tablespoons (50 g) mustard seeds, pulverized to powder in a mortar
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh horseradish, or 2 tablespoons from a jar
2 tablespoons olive oil
7 tablespoons (100 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 small clove garlic, crushed in a mortar
Grated zest of 1/4 lemon, or to taste
This recipe is after Darina Allen’s recipe from Forgotten Skills of Cooking. A delicious sharp and fresh mustard to serve with pâté or red meat or cold meatballs. Combine everything and let stand for a day in a clean jar. This way the mustard thickens a little and it can improve in flavor. It tastes even better after a couple of days.
Excerpted from Home Made Christmas by Yvette van Boven. Copyright 2018 Harry N. Abrams. Photographer by Oof Verschuren.
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