It all started, says Barb, with a pig roast. "Customers were telling us that the pig roasts were really fun and we should do one every week at the market." Not possible, she quips, but, as an alternative, she and Pete came up with a recipe for porchetta, using the pork middle of the pig. "Pork middle is exactly what it sounds like," says Barb. "It's the middle (side) of the pig that contains both the belly and the loin." And it's on special order at Marczyk's, but there's a caveat: it takes at least ten days from from when you order it to when it arrives at the market, so plan accordingly. And be sure to request one with fat. "If you have the oven, the time and the friends to eat it, this rocks," declares Barb.
Porchetta Middle Roast
Preheat oven to 250 degrees
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30 pounds pork middle, with fat 1/2 cup each toasted fennel seeds, minced fresh thyme and minced fresh tarragon 1/4 cup each fresh ground pepper and coarse salt 3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes 25 garlic cloves, peeled 1/2 cup fresh rosemary
1. Stir fennel seeds in a small skillet over medium-high heat until they darken in color and are fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Let cool and grind, using a mortar and pestle or spice mill. 2. Spread the pork middle on your counter, fat side up. Score the fat with deep cuts to create a diamond pattern. Turn over, and sprinkle with toasted fennel seeds, thyme, tarragon, crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper. 3. Place the garlic and fresh rosemary in a food processor and pulsate until it forms a paste. Spread the paste all over the roast. 4. Roll the roast into a tube shape, and tie with butcher's twine at 6-inch intervals. 5. Put the roast directly on your oven's wire rack, placing a large roasting pan directly under it on the next rack down. Doing this ensures that the porchetta is cooked all the way through, and the fat drips into the pan below. 6. Cook overnight, for ten hours, at 250 degrees. 7. After ten hours, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and cook pork for another 45 minutes. 8. Let the pork rest for an hour. 9. Thinly slice roast and serve.