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Porchetta: 101

When you live with a chef, all sorts of culinary magic happens in your kitchen. Sometimes it's as simple as creamy homemade tomato soup, and other times, it's a classic Italian dish that takes 2 days to make.

This was a 2-day job. But boy, was it worth it.

Porchetta is a traditional Italian delicacy that consists of a savory, fatty, moist, de-boned pork roast that has been seasoned, stuffed, and roasted. Porchetta has a rich history that dates back to 15th Century Vatican City cookbooks, originating in a little town outside of Rome. The dish is held in cultural reverence - served only on special holidays that fell on Sundays and it was practically the focal point of the entire celebration. (learn more on the history here).

So it only makes sense that we make Porchetta this past Christmas, which fell on a Sunday. I swear it wasn't planned, just a holy coincidence ;) We were feeding 15 people for Christmas dinner, and we definitely over-estimated on the recipe. 2 porchettas were made, and only 1 was eaten on Christmas Day (talk about leftovers!) Each porchetta weighted about 5-6 lbs, and that made more than enough to feed 15 people.

In this case, it was seasoned pork tenderloin wrapped in pork belly. *yum* We seasoned the pork belly and tenderloin with garlic, rosemary, thyme, and lots of salt and pepper, then wrapped it up using butcher's twine. It takes a lot of seasoning to flavor this much pork, so don't skimp! The pork belly has a lot of unwanted fat on it, so it needs to be trimmed down before using it in this recipe, but save it! The fat is perfect for rendering down as a flavorful base for your gravy.

Full disclosure, I didn't assist in the actual wrapping and tying of the pork - there's a precise technique that goes into properly tying porchetta, or any kind of meat for that matter. And I simply have no idea how to do it. Luckily, my resident chef went to school for such things!

After tying up the meat, we let the meat absorb all the flavors by sitting in the fridge over night. You don't have to let it sit overnight, but the flavor profile will be deeper, and the meat will sort of bind itself together for a tastier, richer final product.

Pull the porchetta out of the fridge for about 30 minutes before cooking, while preheating the oven to 400 degrees. Roast the porchetta for about 40 minutes, before lowering the heat to 325, and cook for about 3 hours, or until the internal temperature of the pork reaches 180 degrees.

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