Inspired by this recent Chowhound post
, I made "Mock Porchetta
" from The Zuni Cafe Cookbook
for company on Sunday night.*
I followed the recipe very closely, with only a few minor adjustments:
The recipe specified a 2.5-3lb. boneless pork shoulder butt roast.**
I had difficulty finding a shoulder roast of that size with sufficient marbling, let alone a boneless
shoulder roast, so I settled on a 5lb. bone-in shoulder roast, which I left intact and untrimmed.
Given the roast's (larger) size, I increased the seasoning amounts in a commensurate manner.***
The recipe specified a cooking temperature of 350 degrees, with a cooking time of roughly 2.5 hours, and an internal temperature reading of 185 degrees. I began cooking my roast at 375 degrees and dropped it to 325 degrees after 30 minutes. The total cooking time amounted to exactly 3.5 hours, with an internal temperature of 175 degrees. After resting the roast for 15 minutes the internal temperature climbed to 180 degrees, which was plenty enough for me.
The recipe specified accompanying the roast with 1-2lbs of assorted vegetables, including carrots, onions, fennel bulbs, celery root, turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, unpeeled garlic, and/or chunks of potato. I decided on small whole potatoes and (quartered) fennel bulbs, only.
Given my estimated increase in cooking time for the roast, I made an adjustment to the cooking time for the accompanying vegetables, adding them to the pan at the beginning of the second
hour, not at the very beginning.
The recipe specified seasoning and tying the roast 1-3 days in advance. First, I located (and expanded) the significant crevices in the roast, packing them with the mixed seasonings. Then, and as the recipe indicated, I spread some remaining fennel seed and cracked black pepper on the surface of the roast before finally tying it.
Here is a picture of the roast on Friday afternoon:
The recipe specified placing the roast in an "ovenproof skillet," or "roasting pan," so I decided to use my ginormous Hackman™ cast-iron fry pan
, which I modified by removing the handle so that it would fit in my oven.
Here is a picture of the finished ( and partly carved) roast on Sunday night:
I apologize for the relatively poor quality of my photos, but I absolutely refuse to use a flash.
I was very, very pleased with this recipe. The meat was incredibly moist and flavourful, and the entire surface of the roast was nicely crisp. As for the potatoes and fennel, well, how bad could they be? All of that rendered pork fat had to go somewhere
As specified, I served the roast and the accompanying vegetables with a delicious pan gravy made from the drippings, some rich stock, and a splash of dry vermouth.
The recipe suggested pairing the roast with a Riesling Kabinett, but instead I paired it with a Tempranillo/Monastrell (Mourvèdre)/ Cabernet Sauvignon blend from Spain which was given to me by fellow LTHForum member, kl5.****
Addenda: A sincere thanks to G Wiv, who was kind enough to help me sort out some of the finer details of preparation.
Tonight, I will make sandwiches with the remains of the roast using fresh ricotta
cheese, arugula, and leftover pan gravy.*****
* A transcription of the recipe is available online, here.
** The transcribed recipe provided at the link above contains a misprint: it specifies a "1.5-3lb." roast whereas the original recipe in the Z.C. Cookbook specifies a "2.5-3lb." roast.
*** The seasonings specified for the roast included capers, lemon zest, chopped garlic, chopped fresh sage leaves, fresh rosemary, fennel seeds, salt, and cracked black pepper.
**** Thank you, Kristen. It was a lovely wine, and my guests thought that it made a great match for the pork.
***** The notes which accompany this recipe include suggestions for any leftover pork. One of these suggestions is for sandwiches of this sort. LTHForum member, orgullodemexico, inquired about porchetta sandwiches in the Chicagoland area on these boards in 11.05.