Tradition in my house calls for pork on New Year’s Day. I usually make Apricot and Sausage Stuffed Pork Tenderloin – but that wasn’t going to work without my Viking. So I decided to pay homage to Judy Rodgers and opt for a version of her mock porchetta (mock because it doesn’t use a whole pig) that also happened to fit in my toaster oven.
One of the best things about making porchetta is that you take care of all the prep well in advance and only have to pop it in the oven a couple of hours before you’re ready to eat. So I planned ahead … or tried to because for some reason I couldn’t find a boneless shoulder butt roast, which is what Zuni suggested. But since tenderloin was on sale, I had my butcher give me a cut near the shoulder with a little bit of fat on it that ended up working out perfectly.
Of course, I departed from the Zuni recipe in a couple of ways. First, I used a larger cut of pork loin because I wanted leftovers and didn’t agree that it would be tough. Second, I added some red pepper, which you will find in most other versions, and omitted the capers because I’m not a fan. Third, I used my Le Creuset small braiser because the cast iron pan wouldn’t fit in my toaster oven. I don’t think this dish suffered from any of my changes. It was super easy to make and absolutely delicious! To keep it simple (who wants to fuss on New Year’s day?), I also took some inspiration from DiNic’s and made sandwiches with sauteed broccoli rabe and provolone. Perfect for a day of football watching.
3.75 lbs of boneless pork shoulder butt roast or tenderloin
8-12 sage leaves
4 sprigs of rosemary
3 sprigs of thyme
3-4 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper
1 tsp of lemon zest
1 and 1/2 tsps of fennel seeds
Freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsps of olive oil
1-2 lbs of root vegetables to surround (potatoes, parsnips, carrots and/or fennel)
*1 bunch of broccoli rabe, blanched and sauteed with a little red pepper and garlic
* 8 slices of provolone
* 4 Ciabatta or Brioche Hamburger Rolls
1-2 days in advance, prep the pork. Cut the meat open in a way that will allow you to stuff it and roll it back up. Even if you mess up a bit, don’t worry, it will still be good.
Mix the herbs, lemon zest, garlic and fennel seeds together.
Then crush them up a bit.
Make a few slits in the pork, sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Rub the herb mixture all over the inside. (Note: I did not add any oil to the mixture so that it would not cook the meat.)
Then roll it back up, tie it, sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper and place it in the refrigerator loosely covered. (You can also add more crushed garlic and herbs to the outside at this time or wait until the morning of cooking, which is what I did as I didn’t want the garlic to be overwhelming.) About an hour before cooking time, remove the porchetta so that it can come up to room temperature. (If you haven’t already done so, rub with additional crushed garlic, herbs, salt and pepper.)
Preheat an oven to 300 degrees.
Heat the pan for a couple minutes over medium heat. Place the pork in a pan and surround it with whatever vegetables you want. I used only a potato because that’s all I had room for and all that I wanted. (I’m not a big fan of fennel.)
Sprinkle the veggies with salt and pepper. Lightly oil the roast and the veggies.
Then roast for until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. (Zuni suggests you flip the roast halfway through the cooking time, which I might have done if cooking in a normal oven, but it was ok without. Zuni also suggests adding stock, but I didn’t see the need and the pork was perfectly juicy- which is likely because I used a lower cooking temp and lower temp for doneness. Next time, I will try this at 250 degrees.)
Because I was doing this in a toaster oven I ended up broiling it for about 10 minutes so it was nicely browned on the top. You certainly can brown before or roast at 450 degrees for 20 minutes and then lower the heat. I don’t think it will matter much, but it will depend on how you are cooking it and what pan you are using.Let the roast rest for 15-20 minutes and then slice. You can serve it with the roasted vegetables and a salad or make sandwiches like I did. However you choose to plate it, it will be delicious! And don’t forget to make use of the roasting juices.
If you make a sandwich, get a good roll, either a ciabatta or brioche hamburger bun.
You’ll want something to soak up the juices and withstand a little broiling.
To drink: a Gavi would be nice or an IPA. For a cocktail, I’d go with a thyme-infused gin cocktail or a bourbon-based drink.
4 thoughts on “Ode To Zuni: Mock Porchetta”
Nice job with limited equipment! Tenderloin is quite different from a shoulder roast, I would not let it go over 140. But you said it was juicy anyway, so that’s great!
When I normally cook the center cut loin, I cook to about 140-145, but most porchetta recipes cook longer. Zuni and a few others actually suggested cooking to 180 or 185, even with a loin. Btw my short ribs at 133 came out wonderful! Thanks!
Great to hear the short ribs worked out! 48 hours or 72?
Pork loin or pork tenderloin are different cuts — pork tenderloin is leaner and more tender than pork loin (and even more disastrous to overcook). Pork loin is like rib eye in beef, with pork tenderloin the equivalent of (you guessed it) beef tenderloin.
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