So as most of you know my hubby turned the big 3-0 last week and we decided to hold a big ole’ country shindig to celebrate… OK so it wasn’t quite that “country” but there was going to be a roaring bonfire, some clay target shooting and of course a pig on a spit.
If you live in Western Australia you’ll also know that we had a Severe Weather Warning issued for Saturday….. you know, the night of his party and I have to say it was a doozy. The horrid weather started in the early hours of Saturday morning and continued all day much to our distress, we had high speed winds, whopping amounts of rain all at once and a lot of damage done around town. Now we did know this was coming and we did plan for it, we had set up a big marquee on our block and were prepped for the storm, especially knowing that it was going to ease off towards the afternoon.
Well yeah, the winds weren’t actually the main problem, unfortunately the 20ml of rain in 20 minutes caused the roof of the marquee to essentially flood and it ended in a buckled mess of steel and tarp on the ground, nothing could be salvaged. So at 10am Saturday morning we had to come up with Plan C (since Plan B had already been used up the day before) and decided to move the party to my parent’s house just down the road. A good choice in the end as the weather didn’t lighten up too much and it was a cold and rainy night.
A great night was still had by all and we were still able to have a bonfire, albeit a much smaller one and nothing, I mean nothing, was stopping us from having that spit roast! I mean we had planned this thing months ago (which you can read all about here) and we had especially planted big piles of parsley, rosemary and oregano so as to be able to create this wonderful stuffing just for this night. So come hell or high water we were having the pig.
Enter the Porchetta!
It was sometime last year that we came across this recipe on an awesome TV show we watch, River Cottage Australia and we knew right there and then that we had to give this a shot. I have to say, after tasting the roasted pig stuffed full of delicious herbs I will definitely be doing this again and I knew I just had to share it with all of you… I mean I had so many people at the party ask about it! I knew it would be a hit.
But what is Porchetta I hear you ask?
Well, Porchetta is a classic Italian dish where a pig is deboned, ladened with herby goodness and then rolled, tied and roasted. In our case we slow roasted it on a spit for 6 hours and it was so tender and juicy!
Now the recipe we found was for a much smaller beast, so we had to really up the quantities to feed all the people we had, so the recipe below is for a big beast that will feed 50-60 people say. However you can easily convert it back if you just want to try it for the Sunday family roast. So enough gabbing about it, on with the recipe!
35kg Deboned Pig
10 Cups Parsley
2 1/2 Cups Rosemary
2 1/2 Cups Oregano
2 1/2 Cups Thyme
20 Garlic Cloves
300ml Olive Oil + Extra for rubbing
Now I can not stress enough how important it is to shop small and local! As you know by now I am very much an advocate for it and I always, where I can, support the small shops in my town first before looking elsewhere. So when it came time to plan the hubby’s party I knew I wanted to support the fabulous boys over at The Meat Hook Toodyay and buy our pig locally. There really is nothing better than eating local and supporting local farmers. In fact we supported quite a few small business with this party, getting the cake made from the team over at Avon Valley Bakery (which was AMAZING I’m told, it was full of gluten so I couldn’t have any) and our fluffy white rolls from the Toodyay Bakery! So it was local all around.
So before you even start on this fabulous Porchetta take a minute and speak to your local butcher, this is made so much easier if you can order your pig straight from them. In fact we had them debone it and roll it with our herby stuffing so all we had to do was pop it straight onto the spit! You can also speak to your butcher at this point about just how big a beast you’re going to need to feed however many people you want.
Now onto the stuffing!
Ten cups of Parsley and several cups of Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano does sound like a lot and truthfully it is, but don’t worry once it is blitzed down it won’t seem like much at all! In a large bowl start desteming your herbs, don’t go too crazy as the stems won’t matter too much, but you do want to remove the wood from the rosemary in particular.
Once done you can start to blitz them down, now depending on the size of your food processor you may need to do this in several batches. Pop all your herbs into a large food processor and blitz until relatively fine, continue to add more herbs until you have a fine grassy looking mix.
Peel and add all 20 garlic cloves, this is roughly the equivalent of 5 whole medium heads and blitz again until chopped finely and well integrated. Now you can pour your olive oil in and mix until well util combined, this will only need a minute or so. Transfer to a small bowl and take it into your butcher or if you’re doing it at home slather the inside of your pork and then roll tightly up and tie with butchers string.
The next step is getting it onto your spit…. which is always fun! If it’s a big beast like ours you may want two people to do this, one to push the pole into the center of the pig and the other to ensure it comes out through the center on the other end. Getting it straight through the middle will be key to an even cook.
Once all tied up and on your spit you can score the skin and prep for the crackling!! Now unfortunately we weren’t able to get our spit up to a high enough heat to really get the crackling going so we did only end up with a little in sections, but I definitely recommend the following steps for perfect crackling every time.
Fill a kettle and bring to the boil, once hot pour over the scored skin and it will pucker up, now you can rub copious amounts of salt and and oil into the skin. Turn your oven or spit to the highest heat setting you can for 30 minutes and sear the skin well and truly before reducing back to a nice slow heat (think 180º Celsius) and cook for several hours (cook time will depend on the size, in our case it was approx 6 hours).
The pig will be ready once the juices run clear. Now you can slice thickly and serve in fresh white rolls with generous slathers of butter and gravy! I really can’t think of a better meal than this and it always goes down a treat. The beautiful hits of garlic melding with the parsley and other herbs and the lovely fattiness from the meat! Just yummy! Our guests certainly thought so with most going back for seconds!
So next time you have a crowd to feed and are thinking roast pork, why not give this beautiful recipe a try! I reckon it would even work well with other roast meats too. Will you be giving it a shot sometime soon? Let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to show the love and hit that share button!
*This recipe is not my own and therefore I cannot claim any of the props for creating it. You can find the original recipe here in it’s original format for a smaller shoulder of pork.*