The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Porchetta Three Ways

I knew that title would get your attention.  It’s not what you think. Perv.

Porchetta isn’t some gorgeous model with questionable virtues we met while clubbing in New York. It’s a classic Italian roast (sometimes spelled “porketta”) that consists of layers of meat, herbs, and stuffing.  Every recipe I’ve seen involves wrapping a big slab of pork belly around a whole heavily-seasoned pork loin, tying together, and roasting it.  I’ve always wanted to try it, but it’s usually a huge roast that feeds a small Italian army.  Right Benito?

I made this using pic originally on lessonpath.com

I made this using pic originally on lessonpath.com

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Recently, I was able to find ways to have it in portions small enough for our family.

Version 1 – Durham’s Tracklements’ Porchetta

How awesome is this place? Durham’s is nationally-known for having some of the best smoked salmon around, yet there are many Ann Arborites who’ve never heard of them.  It’s truly a local treasure.  They do a lot of mail order as well, so definitely check them out.

Durhams smoked salmon with thai

Their otherworldly smoked salmon with Thai seasoning

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I was in there a while ago and saw they had a daily special of house-made porchetta. It was already cooked and all it needed was some reheating in the braising liquid. That liquid part threw me off as I always thought porchetta was roasted.  Whatevs, I bought a couple pounds and brought it home.

Porchetta Durham*

The loin part was a little tough, but the belly was nice and tender. I think it was braised in white wine and that added some nice acidity to the meat.  Overall it tasted good, but I was expecting a little more from it.

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Version 2 – Sparrow Market’s Porketta 

In the same building as Durham’s is Sparrow, the old-school butcher shop I get all my meat from.  Outside of spelling it with the “k” their version was different because they used pork shoulder instead of belly.

porketta 1*

They explained that the belly version sounds great, but the reality is that it just ends up a greasy mess.  (Isn’t that a bonus?)   I roasted this for about 3 hours and the flavors were fantastic.

porketta 3

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The spices were just right, but it was still on the tough side.  I wonder if I should’ve cooked it longer at a lower temperature.

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Or it could be that those Italians should stick to sports cars and painting church ceilings.  If you want a good slice of pizza or have your enemy fitted for cement shoes, call an Italian.

But if it’s some porcine cookery you’re after, leave that to the masters – The Filipinos.

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Version 3 – Pinoychetta

I got this recipe from Gio, The Hungry Giant, which he called “Pinoychetta.”  Pinoy is the term we use to refer to ourselves and other Filipinos and this recipe was his take on porchetta.  Instead of the usual garlic, rosemary, and fennel in the Italian version, his version used spices and aromatics used in Filipino lechon.

Porchetta pinoy

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I know it sounds like I’m rooting for the home team here, but this version was far and away the best of the three.  In fact, it’s one of the most delicious pork recipes I’ve ever made.  That good.

porchetta pinoy 2

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Was it a little greasy? Absolutely.  But the juxtaposition of the crunchy crackling skin, fork-tender meat, spices, and hints of citrus made it a truly magnificent dish.  Here’s the recipe.

Since it only had belly and no other type of meat, I’m not sure you can rightly call this porchetta.  But semantics gets tossed away with the first napkins.

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Have you ever had Porchetta? The roast, not the gorgeous model.  Although I’d like to hear that story, too… 

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

11 comments on “Porchetta Three Ways

  1. talkavino
    March 12, 2014

    All look delicious!

  2. ksbeth
    March 12, 2014

    you had me at porchetta. i’m half italian after all –

  3. wanderingglutton
    March 12, 2014

    I made porchetta last week. I used a pork butt that I deboned. The best part for me was the way the aromatics in the stuffing (garlic, lemon zest, orange zest and capers) completely flavored all the melting connective tissue and essentially basted the whole roast from the inside.

  4. dwdirwin
    March 12, 2014

    I’ll have to get my husband to try the pinoychetta version for Easter this year- he did a porchetta recipe last year- with plenty of pork belly, but it wasn’t as tender as it could have been.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      March 12, 2014

      Yeah, the pinoychetta does away with all the unnecessary, tougher parts that get in the way. you know, the stuff some people call “meat.”

      It’s the way to go. Obviously, you’ll have to dial down on the portions size but it isn’t that hard considering how rich it is.

  5. the winegetter
    March 12, 2014

    Wow, the last one really looks great!! I’ve had it from street vendors in Tuscany, never had an issue with toughness of the meat there…

  6. acrusteaten
    March 12, 2014

    Drooling.

  7. PinotNinja
    March 13, 2014

    I would like all of that right now. Can you make that happen? Thanks.

  8. Pingback: Eataly Chicago | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on March 12, 2014 by in Ann Arbor, Cooking and tagged , , , , , , .
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