Disclosure: This recipe is inspired, adapted and based on one of my hero's recipes. See his post for prettier pictures. Our recipe is smaller (for 6 people instead of 12), and is slightly different because of ingredient availability, budgetary reasons, and time.
- Hiccup: At our butcher of choice, we have previously been able to procure whole slab bellies. They were plum sold out! So rather then give up like a sucker, I decided to persevere understanding the principles of what we were trying to do. In the OG post, they use one belly, and roll it up. A porchetta has many variations but the most common is a whole belly wrapped around a tenderloin. Either way we weren't able to get a whole belly. I was however able to get my hands on 4 lovely pieces of belly with gorgeous in tact skin. The recipe has you circulate for 36 hours, and then deep fry (drool). This gives the pork tender gorgeous meat, and shatter crispy skin. To emulate this using what was available, I seasoned accordingly, and tied the bellies together, meat on meat, skin out. So versus a perfect circle with skin all around and ends exposed, I had more of a rectangular prism with 2/4 sides with skin. To work around this, I used less frying oil, so that the oil only went up as far as the skin/ fat, ensuring that we wouldn't over cook the meat we just spend hours and hours circulating. One flip and repeat, basting with hot oil. The whole process takes about 5 minutes.
- Pork belly slabs totaling 6 lbs of meat (you need 4)
- handful of sage, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Turn your four belly slabs meat up. Cut a diamond patter into it, being careful to not pierce the fat. Rub in the garlic, followed by the sage, making sure to distribute evenly and get into those crevices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, rub again.
- Take two bellies, and keep them meat up. Take the other two bellies, and flip skin side up. Place the skin up bellies on top of the meat side up bellies. So meat is on meat, and skin is out on the top and bottom. Be mindful of the garlic and sage, redistribute as necessary.
- Using kitchen twine, cut 10 or so strips of twine, depending on how long your belly is. In one inch intervals, tie the belly up tight. This belly will more or less resemble a rolled belly, skin outside, meat inside. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp baking powder on each side and a good pinch of salt. Rub all around our belly.
- Place in a vacuum bag, and let rest in the fridge for 24 hours.
- On our time table, we wanted the belly to be done at 6 the day of the show on sunday. We're only doing a 24 hour circulation. So we put our belly in the bath at 6pm on Saturday. This gives us ample time to put it an ice bath, dry, and deep fry.
- Set your immersion circulator to 155 degrees. Let the belly bathe for 24 hours.
- Pull after 24 hours, and set in an ice bath for 30 minutes. Remove from bag, and pat dry. Let air dry in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Sprinkle corn starch on the exposed meat sides of our imperfect porchetta roll.
- Before you deep fry, just a reminder that you'll want your polenta to be mise'd out at this point. Recipe below.
- Heat your oil to 400 degrees in a wok.
- Set the belly in skin side down. Minding the meat, don't submerge it as mentioned above.
- Begin basting the top with hot oil for two minutes.
- Flip to the other side carefully. Baste the top with hot oil. When it looks golden, maybe one more minute, remove, blot excess oil off on a paper towel. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
- 3 oz bacon
- 1 chopped shallot
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp minced thyme
- 1 t chopped sage
- 5 cups milk
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 cup quick cooking polenta
- 1/2 stick of butter
- Sauté bacon in a cast iron pan. Remove when crisp. Set aside on a paper towel to drain.
- Sauté shallot for 3 minutes, lowering heat, do not let brown. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add sage, and sauté for an additional minute.
- Whisk in the milk, and bring to a boil.
- Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until thick and creamy.
- Whisk in butter, salt and pepper.
- Crumble bacon on top.
- Serve with a slice of porchetta, and the pickled fennel from the appetizer.