Ok, I need to be honest with you. This isn't a classic porchetta, but I figure, who has the time (or energy!) to de-bone an entire pig. Not me! This is a rif on a classic, with all of the flavor, but a MUCH easier version. The lemon herb mixture is a snap to whip together in your blender, marinate overnight and cook low and slow in your oven. Baby potatoes and Brussels sprouts hang out in the bottom of the roasting pan and cook in all the delicious pork drippings. Your house will smell AMAZING and no one will every know you spent practically no time in the kitchen!
- 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 (you can also use a pork butt, pork tenderloin or pork rib roast)
- ¼ cup chopped fennel fronds (have you ever wondered what to do with the leafy greens on the fennel you just bought? Now you know!)
- ¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
- 5 garlic cloves, grated or mashed to a paste
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- ¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 pounds small potatoes (baby red or white), skin on and whole
- 2 -4 cups of Brussels sprouts, with the tough other leaves removed
Score skin and fat all over pork, taking care not to cut down to the meat. You can do this with a very sharp paring knife. Carefully, make vertical scores, then horizontal scores so the skin has a harlequin pattern. If you’re using a cut of pork without skin, no worries! It will still be delicious.
In a food processor, combine fennel fronds, rosemary, sage, garlic, lemon zest, salt, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and black pepper. If you don’t have fennel fronds, add an extra teaspoon of fennel seed. Pour in oil and pulse until it forms a paste. Rub the mixture all over pork. The best way is to use your hands. If using a boneless roast, tie with kitchen string at 2-inch intervals. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6 hours. If you plan in advance, refrigerate overnight.
Remove pork from refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you want to cook it. You want the pork to be room temperature before cooking. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
In a bowl toss potatoes and Brussels sprouts generously with olive oil (about 3 tablespoons) and season with salt and pepper. Put the potatoes and Brussels sprouts in a roasting pan. They will get gorgeous amazing flavor from the pork!
Transfer pork to a rack and place rack in roasting pan, over the veggies. You may have to move the veggies around in the pan to ensure there is room for the rack.
Roast 20-30 minutes. You want the crust on top of the pork to get a lovely brown, before reducing the temperature. Once the top is browned, reduce temperature to 325 degrees and cook an additional 2 to 4 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 160 degrees. The cooking time will depend on the size of your pork. Also, if you’re cooking a bone-in roast or rib roast, the cooking time will be longer.
Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Slice pork and serve with the potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
Inspired by New York Times Cooking Section, Melissa Clark