pork belly porchetta
Recipe type: Main
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
I've had so many people ask for the recipe (and both sides of the family have already requested it for Christmas dinner!) You'll need to start the recipe at least one day ahead and will need overnight fridge space and all morning oven space, so plan accordingly. It might be tricky getting a pork belly this big, but if you ask your butcher nicely in advance, they'll usually be able to get one in for you.
Ingredients
  • 2.5kg pork belly (skin on)
  • 1 full kettle boiling water
  • 1 tbsp salt (for the rub)
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds (for the rub)
  • ¼ tsp ground white pepper (for the rub)
  • 1 tbsp fennel seed
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes or 3 small dried birds eye chillis
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • ¼C picked fresh oregano leaves
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil + a bit extra for drizzling
How to make it
  1. Take your pork belly and place it skin side up on a chopping board. Get a (clean) stanley knife and set it so that just a couple of millimetres of knife edge are sticking out. We want to cut through the skin, but not so deep that it goes into the meat itself. Turn the pork belly so that the long end is facing you. Now, slash the pork belly skin in the same direction, from end to end along the length of the belly. It's ok if you don't get cuts that go right from one end to the other, as long as they're all facing the same direction (ie: not a cross hatch).
  2. Put the pork belly in the sink on a rack so that it is sitting off the bottom of the sink. Pour a whole kettle of boiling water all over the skin. You'll see the skin start shrinking up so that the fat underneath is exposed. Pat the skin and belly dry with paper towels.
  3. Next, prepare the rub by grinding the salt, fennel seeds and pepper together in a mortar and pestle. Alternatively, grind the fennel seeds coarsely in a spice grinder before stirring the salt and pepper through. Rub the fennel salt all over the skin of the pork belly, getting it into the cracks.
  4. Prepare the filling by grinding the fennel seed, chilli flakes and pepper together until they are a powder. Add the salt.
  5. Wash the fresh herbs. Pick the leaves off the rosemary and oregano and discard any woody stalks. Chop the parsley off the tougher parts of the stem, leaving the softer stem attached to the leaves. Chop the fresh herbs and peeled garlic roughly, then add the zest and juice of a lemon and the spices before either pounding it to a paste in a mortar and pestle or whizzing it together into a paste in a food processor. Add up to 3tbsp of olive oil to help it all stick together.
  6. Pull the pork belly out of the fridge and lay it skin side down on a dry board or plate so that the long side is facing you. Cut a strip of meat about 4cm wide off the short side of the belly, leaving the skin and fat below it intact.
  7. Spread the paste onto the meat remaining on the belly then put the strip of meat you cut off on top of the paste and roll the whole thing up like you would a sushi roll. Use kitchen string to secure everything in place.
  8. Put the pork belly on a rack and place it, uncovered, in the fridge for at least four hours if not overnight so that the skin can dry out.
  9. The next day, or when you're ready to cook, preheat your oven to 130C. Put the pork belly roll onto a wire rack in a roasting dish so that the air can circulate all around it, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and roast in the oven for at least 3 to 3 and a half hours or until a thermometer inserted into the middle reads at 70C. Mine took a touch over three hours, so check it from time to time after that.
  10. Remove the belly from the oven and crank it right up to 250C (or as close to that as your oven goes). Rotate the belly onto its side and put it in the oven, watching it carefully. The skin will start to blister and pop. Once the skin looks crackly, pull it out, rotate the belly so that the other side is facing up and repeat to crackle before taking it out of the oven to cool.
  11. Let the pork belly rest for at least 20 minutes on the rack before carving. You can use all of the rendered fat in the bottom of the roasting dish to cook the most delicious onions, but that's a recipe for another day.
Recipe by onebitemore at https://www.onebitemore.com/2014/12/pork-belly-porchetta/