Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Italian-style Porchetta in a Crock Pot

I was reading in the most recent issue of Cucina Italiana about porchetta sandwiches, and my mouth was watering. Not only must I visit this place in the East Village: http://www.porchettanyc.com/ (which, let's face it, sort of looks like Heaven) - but I've been determined to move from my barbecue-style pork (not the sweet gooey kind, but the more acidic Carolina pulled type) to a full-out Italian porchetta pronzi.

The problem was this: I had promised a meaty main course for 8-10 people at Savina's for Sat, and I wanted to do a slow-cooked meat, but I didn't have time. Enter my crock pot. Would it be possible to replicate the beautiful juicy consistency with the crunchy exterior of the salty porchetta?

Fri night, I got home around 11:30 toting 4 lbs of boneless pork butt (I was on a time crunch and the place I went didn't have shoulder), a head of garlic, and a fistful of fresh parsley. Since I had to work at the cafe at 9:30 the next morning, I was planning to cook the butt through the night and let it cool while I was at the store.

Then I loosely followed the recipe from Jersey Girl's blog: http://jerseygirlcooks.blogspot.com/2008/11/crockpot-porchetta.html

It turned out fantastic! I'm still drooling over it. So moist and tasty, with an incredible kick of herbs. I browned the meat in a cast iron skillet before adding it to my crock pot (after I rubbed it) - I would've browned it just slightly more, to get it even more crispy. And I could have taken it out of the pot earlier, since it fell apart so easily, but I was sleeping and not concerned.

All in all, BRILLIANT RECIPE. I will be using this as a go-to from now on.

Italian-style Porchetta in a Crock Pot

-3-4 lbs boneless pork shoulder (I used butt, but I prefer shoulder - you could also use pork loin, but reduce the cooking time significantly)
-8 cloves garlic (5 for a rub, 3 sliced and tucked into the folds of the meat)
-2 TBSP fresh rosemary
-1/2 cup fresh parsley
-1 TBSP coarse smoked salt (picked this up at Reading Terminal in Philly)
-1/2 TBSP pepper
-1/2 TBSP lemon juice (or just a couple of seedless squeezes)
-1 TBSP dried oregano
-1 TBSP dried fennel seed
-1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
-2-3 TBSP olive oil
-2-3 TBSP canola oil (for browning the meat)
-1/2 cup white wine
-1/2 cup water or chicken broth
1. Grind 5 cloves garlic, rosemary, parsley, pepper, salt, lemon juice, oregano, fennel, red papper flakes, and olive oil together to make a paste to coat the meat. I used a mortar and pestle and then amped it up with a little more oil and used my immersion blender.
2. Rub the paste all over the pork. Wipe the drool from your chin.
3. In big cast iron skillet, heat canola oil. Brown the meat on all sides til crispy (about 5-6 mins per side).
4. Remove meat and place on plate while you deglaze the pan.
5. Deglaze the pan: turn up the heat on the drippings, add the wine and the water or broth. While the pan heats up and boils, scrape the drippings all together, then reduce heat to medium high and reduce a bit (not by half, but a little more than a quarter). Add any extra rub that you may have sitting in the bowl. Everything show go in! This is a recipe that benefits from as much flavor you can throw in as possible.
6. Meanwhile, take the 3 remaining cloves of garlic and cut into thick slices (7-8 actual chunks of garlic). Tuck each into the folds of the pork.
7. Move meat to crock pot.
8. Pour drippings/mixture from pan over the meat.
9. Cook 6-8 hrs, until finished.*
10. Serve on good sandwich rolls. If I was in Philly, I'd serve with Amoroso's. You can serve with a slice of roasted red pepper if you'd like, but the pork is so good it doesn't need any accompaniment.
Note: I cooked it for about 1 hr on high and 6-7 hrs on low. This was good - next time, I'll probably hit it with 6-7 hrs on low and it should be fine. You don't want it pulled and stringy - not because pulled pork isn't good, just because it becomes less like porchetta. But still, if you overcook it to the point of being pulled, it'll still taste delicious.

the hungry bunnies

note 12/17: i made it again w/ some mustard from katz's deli (thanks, jake) and a kick of sriracha. delicious!


  1. Umm...you left out the rosemary in step #1!

  2. This recipe is the bomb! Thank you so much. It keeps getting better with each passing day.