Cooking up a pork shoulder roast slowly in the oven produces a really tender and flavorful roast unlike any other, especially if you choose some type of rub or herbs that really help to boost the flavor of the roast itself. I have always been intrigued by porchetta roasts, but I hardly have the time or room to make a real traditional porchetta where you make use of the entire pig and de-bone it, stuff it, roll it and slow roast it. This particular recipe from Melissa Clark at New York Times Cooking lets you get the great tastes and flavors of the traditional Italian dish without having to use anything more than a pork shoulder roast and some great spices. Just the picture alone at NYT Cooking made me want to make this and getting a pork shoulder on sale just made it even more urgent for me.
Porchetta Pork Roast
1 (7- to 8- pound) bone-in, skin on pork shoulder roast, or a 6- to 7- pound boneless roast, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch thickness
1/4 cup chopped fennel fronds
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
5 garlic cloves, grated or mashed to a paste
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fennel seed
3/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Score the skin and fat all over the pork roast, taking care not to cut down to the meat. In a food processor or using a mortar and pestle, combine the fennel fronds, rosemary, sage, garlic, lemon zest, kosher salt, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and the black pepper. Pour in the olive oil. Pulse or mash the mixture until it forms a paste. Rub the paste all over the pork. If you are using a boneless roast, tie the roast with kitchen twine at 2-inch intervals. Transfer the pork roast to a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the roast for at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
Remove the pork from the refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you want to cook it. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet and roast it for 35 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and cook the roast for an additional 2 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 180 degrees, which will give you sliceable, tender meat. Bone-in roasts will take longer to cook than boneless, thus the varying time range.
Transfer the pork to a cutting board and allow the roast to rest for 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Make sure everyone gets some of the cracklings of the roast.
This roast is really easy to make and if you are leery of trying to score the skin yourself, you can always ask the butcher to do it for you, but it can be done pretty simply with a good knife. The recipe produces a super tender pork roast and the cracklings you get from the fat and the skin are out of this world. You get a lot of meat from this recipe, so it is good to make for a crowd and the rub that you use gives great flavor to the roast with the fennel and the sage. Leftovers are perfect for sandwiches the next day and you can even throw the meat in some of your favorite store-bough or homemade barbecue sauce to make a pulled pork like sandwich for yourself or use the meat on some nachos. I’ll definitely be making this one again since it was so easy to do.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!