September 26, 2023

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Belly up: Yotam Ottolenghi’s porchetta recipe | Food

6 min read
Belly up: Yotam Ottolenghi’s porchetta recipe | Food

Some dishes fill me with a certain feeling of accomplishment whenever I make them, the magnificent Italian porchetta being one. Master porchetta, and you’re in for the most wonderful pork roast: tender, flavoursome and bound by the crispest of cracklings. Like all good things, however, achieving that requires a delicate balance of technique and patience, though it’s all worth it. So here you have a porchetta feast, for when you have the gift of time and your nearest and dearest to share it with, rolled, roasted and ready for you to give it a go.

Oregano stuffed porchetta with pickled shallots and herbs (pictured top)

This popular Italian import is a make-ahead project that is well worth the time and effort. The deeply savoury pork and salty, crisp skin has the makings of a great meal, and there’ll be plenty left over for delicious sandwiches. If you like, ask the butcher to score the skin for you.

Prep 20 min
Rest Overnight
Cook 3 hr
Serves 6, with leftovers

For the stuffing
2½ tsp fennel seeds, toasted
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 tsp chilli flakes
6 garlic cloves
, peeled
15g ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
2 lemons, zest finely grated, to get 4 tsp, and juiced, to get 60ml
30g oregano, leaves picked (20g)
2 tbsp olive oil
Fine sea salt

For the pork belly
1.8 kg skin-on pork belly
2 tbsp olive oil
60g dijon mustard
Butcher’s string

For the pickled shallots and herbs
4 shallots (150g), peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
¾ tsp caster sugar
50g parsley
, picked and roughly torn (35g)

Put all the stuffing ingredients bar the lemon juice and oil in the small bowl of a food processor, add a teaspoon and three-quarters of salt, and blitz until coarsely chopped.

Next, prepare the pork. Remove any string, then tightly roll the shortest end of the pork over on itself, so it’s like a swiss roll – there shouldn’t be any skin in the middle of the swirl, so unroll and trim off any excess skin, if need be. Put the pork flesh side down on a work surface and pat the skin dry with kitchen paper. Using a metal skewer, lightly puncture the skin all over at ¼cm intervals, making sure not to pierce all the way through to the flesh. Using a very sharp knife, carefully score the skin lengthwise at ½cm intervals.

Turn over the pork and score the flesh diagonally at 3cm intervals, making sure not to cut all the way through to the fat.

In a small bowl, mix a tablespoon of the oil with the mustard and a teaspoon of salt, rub this into the pork flesh, then smooth the herb stuffing on top.

To roll the pork, start at the shorter end and roll it up tightly again like a swiss roll. Using butcher’s string, tie the roll very tightly in the middle, then about 1cm from each end. Tie the roll six more times, to give you nine ties in total, then put it on a rack in a baking dish. Pat the skin dry again, then refrigerate overnight, or for up to two days (this helps the skin dry out and ensures it goes perfectly crisp when roasting, and also marinates the meat deeply, too).

Remove the pork dish from the fridge at least a hour before cooking, so it comes back up to room temperature.

Heat the oven to 170C (150C fan)/325F/gas 3. Rub the remaining tablespoon of oil and a half-teaspoon of salt all over the skin, then roast for two and a half hours, rotating the tray every hour so it cooks evenly, by which time the skin should be lightly golden.

Turn up the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 and ventilate the kitchen. Roast the joint for another 20-25 minutes, rotating it once halfway, until the skin is golden, bubbling in places and crisp. Don’t be alarmed by any smoke, because this is caused by the fat running off the skin (if, however, your oven is emitting too much smoke, remove the pork dish, set aside for 15 minutes, then return to the oven.

Meanwhile, make the pickled shallots. Mix the lemon juice, shallots, sugar and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt in a small bowl. Arrange a pile of parsley in a small bowl and put the shallots and their pickling liquid alongside.

Put the porchetta on a board, cut into 2½cm-thick slices and serve with the salad bowl alongside.

Lemony potatoes and rainbow chard with chive creme fraiche

Yotam Ottolenghi’s lemony potato and rainbow chard with chive creme fraiche.

These warm, lemony potatoes and chard are the perfect accompaniment for the porchetta. I find them equally delicious warm or cold. If you like, swap the chard for spinach or other hardy greens.

Prep 15 min
Cook 25 min
Serves 4

Salt
4 yukon or butter gold potatoes (600g), peeled, cut in half lengthways, then cut into 2cm-wide pieces
100g creme fraiche
30g chives
, 1 tsp chopped into ½cm lengths and reserved, the rest roughly chopped
1 lemon, zest finely grated, to get 2 tsp, and juiced, to get 2 tbsp
2½ tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves
, peeled and crushed
400g rainbow chard, stems cut at an angle into 2½cm-thick slices, leaves roughly torn
40g fine capers, or regular ones roughly chopped
Black pepper

Bring a large saute pan of well-salted water to a boil, then turn down the heat to medium, add the potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes, until fork tender but not breaking up. Drain in a colander and set aside.

Meanwhile, make the chive creme fraiche. Put 50g creme fraiche, the roughly chopped chives, a tablespoon of lemon juice and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in the small bowl of a food processor and blitz until almost smooth. Spoon into a bowl and fold in the rest of the creme fraiche.

Wipe the potato pan clean and return it to a medium-high heat. Add the olive oil, garlic and chard stems, then cook, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for two to three minutes, until the stems soften slightly. Stir in the chard leaves and half a teaspoon of salt, and cook until just wilted. Add the potatoes and capers, stir to warm through, then take off the heat. Drizzle in the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and sprinkle over plenty of cracked black pepper.

Arrange the potato mixture on a platter and spoon small pools of half of the creme fraiche on top. Scatter over the lemon zest and reserved chives, and serve with the remaining creme fraiche mix in a bowl on the side.

Apple and kohlrabi salad with horseradish dressing and porchetta

Yotam Ottolenghi’s apple and kohlrabi salad with horseradish dressing and porchetta (see top recipe).

I love to use porchetta as a leftover (if I’m lucky to have any, that is). The fragrant meat makes the perfect filling for a salad. If you don’t have porchetta, use shop-bought roast pork slices or rotisserie chicken instead.

Prep 10 min
Cook 10 min
Serves 2, or 4 as a side

100g porchetta, thinly sliced on the round
2 tsp olive oil
10g coriander leaves
, roughly chopped
1 large kohlrabi (250g), peeled, halved and cut into 1mm-thick half-moons
1 small braeburn apple (100g), sliced into 1mm-thick half-moons
30g creamed horseradish
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
Fine sea salt
1 small red chilli
, thinly sliced at an angle

Use a small, sharp knife to cut off any crackling from the porchetta slices, then finely chop the crackling to make a crunchy topping and set aside.

Cut each piece of porchetta into three, then put in a small bowl and stir in a teaspoon of the oil and all the coriander.

In a separate large bowl, combine the kohlrabi, apple, horseradish, dijon, and lemon juice with a quarter-teaspoon salt and the remaining teaspoon of oil.

Layer the salad and pork in a shallow serving bowl, sprinkle over the sliced chilli and crackling crumb, and serve.

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