Spending hours by an oven is not my preference. My most used function on the oven is the broil mode – and I’m a pro. Set oven to broil on low, timer for 5 minutes, and you have the perfect day-two fries and wings from last night’s dinner! When came the opportunity to buy a bag of buns, my first thought brought me to my first sandwich from Porchetta & Co. It was 2015, my first time trying porchetta, and it was scene: soft bun, loaded with chopped porchetta, skin cracklings and a douse of wholegrain mustard seeds – at that time it was the best thing I ever had – that is, until I came back and tried their fried chicken sandwich, then my infatuation shifted.
Porchetta seems grueling and labour intensive. I had to mentally prepare myself to spend the day in the kitchen. But it’s actually nothing like I anticipated and is incredibly simple! The lengthy hours put behind a porchetta is if you’re making a large portion and/or if you want to truly impress by baking it on low & slow. Otherwise, here’s my quick yet delicious way to create a mini porchetta.
Here’s the parts broken down:
- Prepare seasoning. Toast, mortar & pestle, combine.
- Dress pork belly, roll pork belly, twine. Get real slippery if you’re new to this twine dance.
- Create a resting spot of onions and/or vegetables for the pork belly to prop onto.
- Set time, come back in 1.5 hours – change oven setting to broil once temperature reaches 145°F
- Rest porchetta, slice, and admire. Enjoy as is, or in a sandwich.
Why this recipe works:
- Porchetta, but make it mini. Because I’m not willing to get sick of pork belly anytime soon. This porchetta yields 6 slices. One slice per serving is more than enough to reach the pork quota for the day.
- Elevate with onions to avoid burning. Use onions, or any root vegetables work. I threw in some red radishes in this time and realized that I don’t love roasted red radishes.
- Use a deep oven tray to scoop up all of that pork fat & roast vegetables while you’re at it! Utilize that pork fat for good. After the one hour mark, add your preferred veggies for roasting for the remaining 30 minutes.
- Caramelized onions double up as the perfect condiment to a sandwich, or along side your slice of porchetta.
- Make the best sandwiches out of these. The seasoning is just right. All you need is a teaspoon of horseradish & dijon mustard to balance out the fatty flavours. For the bun, go with a bun that toasts well to become airy & soft in bite (I used ACE’s Bocata Ronda for this)
- Plan ahead, portion the porchetta slices according to preferred width with the kitchen twine. We did 5 wraps for 6 slices, The indented kitchen twine in the pork belly skin served as a guide, making it easy to cut through (tip 1).
Cooking time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Preparation time: 20 minutes
1 kg Pork Belly (roughly 7 x 12inches)
2 Onions, sliced in half
½ tsp Fennel Seeds
½ tsp Black Peppercorns, whole
½ tsp of two Herbs of your choice (Thyme, Sage and/or Rosemary)
¼ tsp Salt
1 tbsp Garlic Cloves, sliced
1 tbsp Olive Oil
Pork Skin Rub
1 tsp Salt
⅛ tsp Baking Powder
Sandwich (each sandwich)
1 tsp Mustard of choice
1 tsp Horseradish
- Remove pork belly from fridge to room temperature and pat dry if necessary.
- Toast black peppercorns and fennel seeds on medium-high heat until aromatic, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and grind until roughly crushed.
- Add crushed seasonings to a bowl. Add chopped thyme & sage. Add olive oil. Mix until combined. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place pork belly skin-side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, score flesh length wise, 1cm apart.
- Spoon Seasoning mixture onto scored pork belly. Place sliced garlic into crevices. Sprinkle with salt.
- Roll pork belly width wise into a tight log. Secure with kitchen twine (See tip 1).
- Combine salt and baking powder. Rub mixture over skin of pork belly roll.
- To a deep baking pan, arrange halved onions in the center. Ensure that height of onions are relatively even as the pork will be resting on the onions. Place pork belly onto onions.
- Place the pan into the oven for up to 1.5hours. Bake until the internal temperature of pork belly reads 145°F.
- Once temperature reached, set to low broil for 1 minute. Keep a close eye to ensure not to burn. Remove once golden.
- Remove from oven and rest for 20 minutes before slicing. Remove twine and use twine indents as a guide to slice.
Make: Porchetta Sandwich
- Toast buns (my choice is a 5 minute broil in the oven).
- Spread wholegrain mustard and horseradish onto one inner side of the bread.
- Arrange caramelized onion. Chop up sliced porchetta further, and add to sandwich.
- Add top bun, enjoy!