Sunday, 2017 January 01

My mother was Pennsylvania German, so I grew up eating a lot of traditional foods and following certain traditions. I've been happy to continue honoring one of those traditions, the eating of pork and sauerkraut on New Year's Day to bring good luck.

I also like to mix things up and try new recipes every year. This year, I decided to marry an Italian-style Porchetta with a traditional side of mashed potatoes and sauerkraut.

My porchetta recipe was based on a recipe in the most recent issue of Cook's Illustrated. In general I've had good luck with Cook's Illustrated recipes, although I often find them a bit fiddly. This was no exception. But I have enough experience that I don't hesitate to modify recipes as I see fit. In this case, I was extremely pleased with the result.

What follows is my interpretation.


The Night Before

  1. I ground the fennel seeds into a powder using my mortar and pestle. I added this to the bowl of a small food processor along with the herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, and olive oil. I processed this until it was a nice paste.
  2. I cut a crosshatch pattern into the fat cap, all the way through but not into the meat. Roughly a one-inch grid.
  3. I cut the roast in half so that I had two roughly cubic pieces of approximately the same size, each with a piece of the fat cap. I cut two slits all the way through both roasts, parallel to the fat cap.
  4. Rub the paste all over the roasts, including into the slits.
  5. Tie the roasts tightly, into cylindrical shapes.
  6. Place the roasts on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet and refrigerate uncovered overnight.

The Day Of

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Place both roasts in a large Dutch oven. Separate them as much as possible. Put on lid and place in oven. Roast until pork reaches 180, about 2.25 - 2.5 hours.
  3. Take out Dutch oven. Remove lid and set aside. Crank oven temperature to 500. Remove roasts, line Dutch oven with foil, and replace roasts. Place back in oven. Roast for an additional 20-25 minutes, until temperature reaches 190.
  4. Remove roasts, let rest for 15-20 minutes, serve.

The result was absolutely delicious. The pork was falling-apart tender, the flavor was incredible, and I ate way more than I should have.

Friday, 2016 July 29 Monday, 2017 January 02