Porchetta with Dried Fruit Stuffing
For this recipe you’ll need to special order a boneless, skin-on pork belly with some of the rib meat still attached. And since you must salt the skin for 1 to 2 days to give the porchetta its characteristic crunch, you should plan well in advance. If you can’t fit all of the fruit stuffing inside the pork belly, transfer the remaining stuffing to a greased baking dish, cook for 1 hour and serve alongside the finished dish.
For the stuffing:
- 1 1/2 cups (9 oz./280) assorted dried fruit, such as raisins, dried cranberries and chopped dried apricots
- 1 /2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) brandy
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
- 1 1/2 cups (6 oz./180 g) chopped celery
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbs. chopped fresh sage
- 4 cups (8 oz./250 g) 1/2-inch (12-mm) bread cubes
- 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./180 ml) chicken stock
1/2 fresh, meaty skin-on pork belly, 5 to 6 lb. (2.5 to 3 kg)
- 3 Tbs. kosher salt
- 3 baking apples, halved horizontally
To make the stuffing, in a small bowl, combine the dried fruit and brandy and set aside to soak for 10 minutes. Drain the fruit, reserving the dried fruit and any remaining brandy separately.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the apples, celery, onion and a large pinch of salt. Sauté until the celery is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the reserved brandy, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the rosemary and sage and return the pan to medium-high heat. Continue cooking until the brandy is reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes.
Transfer the contents of the pan to a large bowl. Add the bread cubes and chicken stock and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
Place the pork belly on a work surface, skin side up and with the short end facing you. Using a sharp knife, score the pork vertically, forming lines 1/4 inch (6 mm) apart, cutting through the skin and underlying fat but not the meat underneath. Flip the pork belly skin side down. Using a skewer, poke dozens of holes in the meat about 1/8 inch (3 mm) deep. Using a meat mallet, pound the pork for 2 minutes to tenderize it.
Spread the stuffing across the center of the pork and roll the pork around the stuffing. Using kitchen twine, tie the rolled pork at 1-inch (2.5-cm) intervals. Rub with salt and refrigerate, uncovered, for 24 hours to 2 days.
Remove the pork from refrigerator and let rest 1 hour.
Preheat an oven to 450°F (230°C).
In a large sauté pan, roast the pork in the oven for 35 minutes, tenting the pork with aluminum foil if the skin becomes too dark. Reduce the heat to 325°F (165°C) and roast 2 hours more.
Spoon the drippings from the pan into a small bowl. In a medium bowl, toss the apples with 3 Tbs. of the drippings; arrange the apples around the pork in the sauté pan. Continue roasting until a thermometer inserted into center of meat registers 145°F (63°C), 30 minutes to 1 hour more. Let rest 30 minutes before carving into slices and serving the porchetta with the roasted apples. Serves 8.
Williams-Sonoma Test Kitchen