There are few things as irresistible as the aromatic succulence and crackling of porchetta; temptation is never harder than when walking past a porchetta van during a morning market…and succumbing never so sweet…!
Slow Roasted Decadence
Each Friday my cousin Mimina and her husband who own the town’s butcher shop freshly grind their home-grown peperoncini (chili), rosemary and garlic together ready for the town’s weekend porchetta. They tightly tie the string around the stuffed scored meat to keep the flavours where they should be before cooking it slowly overnight in their gigantic oven. Early in the morning, they pick up the soft potato bread that is traditionally served with porchetta in Prezza, before carrying both into their butcher’s shop, ready to tempt townsfolk to the world’s finest pulled pork.
Outside of a grand family occasion, there aren’t many in Prezza who regularly make their own make their own porchetta. Although the Abruzzesi are famous for their social and generous eating, they are also keenly frugal too. They recognise there is little point in keeping an oven lit overnight when porky perfection can be purchased from the local butcher that uses Abruzzo’s acclaimed pork.
Social Eating without Leftovers
Historically Abruzzo’s mountainside communities would invest and work together in raising a pig on the collective scraps from their table; as families became richer there would be a pig raised per each extended family. This was a true ‘tail to nose’ venture with almost nothing thrown away as the meat was divided into creating the very best sausages, salami and prosciutto that would be air-cured or kept sotto olio (under oil) to sustain entire families throughout the winter. Abruzzo’s pork remains a highly-prized product; in the province of Chieti there is a whole museum devoted to the pig and the culinary riches it has provided the region, and we in Prezza are forever grateful to Mimina’s family and their legendary Abruzzo porchetta recipe.
- 2.25 kg boneless Pork Shoulder with the Rind
- 44 g Salt
- 6 g Black Peppercorns
- 4 g Peperoncini (Chili)
- 4 g Fresh Rosemary
- 1 tbsp. Bay Leaves
- 10 cloves Sulmona Garlic or 16 cloves standard garlic
- Ask your butcher to butterfly your joint of meat so that you have a flat piece of meat.
- Wash the meat (not the skin) and dry carefully with paper towels and sprinkle freshly ground salt onto its skin.
- Whizz the remaining salt and stuffing ingredients together in an electric spice grinder or in a pestle and mortar.
- Stand the meat skin side down on a table and spread your paste evenly across your piece of meat.
- Roll it up and tie tightly with string.
- Roast in the oven at 180 C (350 F) about 2 hours and a half til crisp
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
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