Forget the turkey, forget that miserable excuse for a ham you overpaid for, this is your holiday roast and it'll be the one your quest rave about for years.
6-lbs. pork belly, preferably with the skin 2-3 lbs. pork loin, boneless 2 oranges, rinds, grated 3 tbsp fennel seed 2 tbsp crushed red pepper flake 2 tbsp fresh sage, minced 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced 4 garlic cloves, minced
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
Place the pork belly skin down on a large cutting board. To test fit, wrap it around your pork loin. the ends of the pork belly need to meet up. If it's too long trim the belly to fit. Remove the loin and score the inside of the belly to allow the seasoning to penetrate the flesh.
Take the dry spices (fennel and red pepper) and toast in an over or skillet until fragrant. Combine in a bowl with your fresh herbs and rub all over the underside of the pork belly.
Place the loin back into the center of the seasoned belly, wrap the belly around the loin and using butchers twine until it's nice and tight.
Optional: If you want extra crispy skin, you do. Place the roast in a roasting pan/rack in your refrigerator overnight to allow the skin to dry out. This will yield extra crunchy skin and present much better.
To keep the skin crispy, you also want to allow the roast to come up to room temperature before putting in the oven. Preheat the oven to 500* and place the roast in it for 30-45 minutes turning it once in this time. Lower heat to 300* and continue roasting for an additional 1-2 hours. You are looking for a 145* internal temp. By now your skin should be golden brown. If not, increase the heat of your oven to 450-500* depending on how close you are to the ideal 145* temp. and crisp/brown the skin for 10-15 minutes.
Remove from oven, let sit for 20-30 minutes, start pouring out glasses of a nice Chianti or a crisp dry Vermentino if you would like a white.
Carving, slice porchetta into 1/2" to 1" thick slices depending on the look you want your final plate to have. I like the single large slice.
Leftover Tip: Porchetta makes a great sandwich, chill the remaining roast and slice thin the following day for sandwiches. Recommended accoutrements; Steamed spinach, broccoli rabe, provolone.
Since my love for all things Italia runs deep and my wife and I typically take off somewhere for the Christmas holiday, I decided to run through the paces of putting a traditional Italian feast together.
This was 2018, and we had planned to spend a few days in Munich before heading to Innsbruck by train before heading into Northeast Italy to spend some time with some Italian friends. The offshoot into Germany and Austria was convenient, flights are usually more cost effective than flying into Italian cities and we got to ride the train through a snow covered Brenner Pass. It was every bit of gorgeous as you'd expect even with overcast skies and snowfall.
The decision to cook a Porchetta in the weeks prior was easy, we'd have our own mini-Christmas in the states without trekking gifts across the Atlantic and we'd be the one's doing to cooking, something we didn't expect to do when we were in Italy.
When pork is roasting in the over (or over fire) the aromatherapy that fills a house is intoxicating. That unctuous porky smell combined with sizzling sage, fennel, rosemary and garlic is enough to drive even the feeblest of appetites into a frenzy.
There is a little more hands-on work here than your typical turkey or ham, but the results speak for themselves. Our typical Anglo-American holiday meals can become stale, especially with Christmas coming in right behind Thanksgiving and both meals share a lot of the same sides. So break things up with this showstopper. Maybe it will inspire you next year to just go have that Christmas in Italy.