When Olympic Provisions opened up shop in 2009 (see our tour here), it was the first salumeria in Oregon officially licensed to produce and sell their own charcuterie. From then it was only a matter of time before the salumeria launched a couple of successful restaurants and a meat processing plate. Their food is, naturally, meat-centered, and their Porchetta Sandwich featured in Laurie Wolf's Portland, Oregon Chef's Table, is truly a testament to the pig.
The porchetta itself is a relatively simple one: the belly is brined in a melange of Italian herbs and spices before being wrapped around Italian sausage, browned, and slow roasted in the oven. Once cooked, the sandwich assembly is a quick slice, heat, and serve process. It's a barebones sandwich, but a tasty one.
Why I picked this recipe: Do I need to explain the appeal of slow-roasted pork belly?
What worked: I'd hesitate to call this a true porchetta roast, given that it is simply a roasted belly filled with sausage, but whatever it is, the end result is rich, flavor-packed, and makes for a delightfully porky sandwich.
What didn't: The brine recipe makes a ton. You could cut everything in half and it'd still cover the belly just fine. In addition, the recipe doesn't offer much in the way of sandwich assembly directions, directing to heat and serve on bread, but the picture (and online menu) suggests that Olympic Provisions serves their porchetta with mayonnaise and balsamic-glazed onions. Sounds like a good idea to me.
Suggested tweaks: Next time, I'd try crisping the porchetta slices in a bit of rendered fat instead of warming in broth for a crunchier take on the sandwich. I'd also mix up my own Italian sausage from scratch. Finally, the porchetta would also make an excellent sub for bacon in a BLT.
Reprinted with permission from Portland, Oregon Chef's Table by Laurie Wolf. Copyright 2012. Published by Lyons Press. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.
- Yield:serves 4
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:48 hours
- 1 2-pound pork belly, skin removed
- 1 gallon water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 6 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons fennel seed
- 2 tablespoons chile flakes
- 1/2 to 3/4 pound loose Italian sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Chicken or other meat broth
Combine water, salt, sugar, bay leaves, peppercorns, fennel seed, and chile flakes in large pot and bring to a boil. Cool to room temperature. Submerge belly in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours. Drain off brine.
Spoon 1/2 to 3/4 pound loose Italian sausage of your liking down the center of the belly. Roll the belly up tightly around the sausage and tie into a roast with kitchen twine.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Heat a wide, heavy-bottomed pan or wide pot over medium-high heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Place the porchetta roast in the pan and sear well on all sides, browning evenly. When roast is seared, place it in a roasting pan and tent loosely with foil. Place the pan in the oven and roast until the porchetta reaches an internal temperature of 135°F. Take out of the oven and cool. Chill thoroughly in the refrigerator overnight.
Slice the chilled porchetta into desired thickness. Heat slices in 1 or 2 inches of chicken or meat broth or lightly salted water, until slices are cooked through, tender, and delicious. Serve on your favorite bread and prepare yourself for a fine porchetta sandwich. Note: If you bring the roast up to 165°F, you can slice and serve it as a main course. Chilled slices of porchetta can also be pan-seared in fat.