Pork! I love it all! Sausage, chops, bacon, hams of all sorts, tenderloin. You get the idea. So, when my friend Hannah asked me to highlight Jake’s Country Meats, where pig is king (my tag line, not theirs – however I’m willing to sell my marketing genius), how could I resist?
What to make? The Dude and I were having our good friend John over for dinner and I wanted to showcase the pork in all its wonderful, fresh, antibiotic free, glory. I immediately thought of Porchetta. Porchetta is a boneless pork shoulder filled with yummy herbs and roasted until the skin is crisp and the meat is juicy. So, Hannah delivered a beautiful, 3-1/2 pound boneless pork shoulder to my office. Can I just say it felt a bit illicit as she was dropping off the pork package?
Of course, all Italian cooks have their own take on porchetta. This is the recipe that I grew up with and I love it! I hope you do too!
- 1 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped fine
- 2-3 TBSP red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Take your pork shoulder and butterfly it so that you have a rectangular shaped piece of meat. Pound the shoulder so that it lays flat, but do not overdo it!
Sprinkle the red wine vinegar over the meat and rub gently into it. The vinegar does amazing things. Tenderizes a bit, but also adds a subtle “bite” to offset the richness of the meat. Then, cover the meat with your chopped garlic and dill. Salt and pepper generously. Leave a little dill for rubbing the outside of the porchetta.
Roll the shoulder as tightly as possible and tie it.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place the porchetta in a heavy dutch oven with a little olive oil coating the bottom of the pan. Cover and roast for one hour. Turn up the heat to 400 degrees, uncover the roast and continue to cook until the porchetta browns and the internal temperature is 180 degrees.
Remove from the dutch oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
We had the porchetta with some lovely roasted new red potatoes and a large platter of insalata caprese made with a variety of heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and extra virgin olive oil.
Here is what I love about this meal. The porchetta! When you have a very rich cut of meat like this, the red wine vinegar and the dill add a brightness that compliments the pork. I can’t stress enough the difference between farm raised, antibiotic free meat from what you pick up at your local grocery store. While I know it may be difficult for some to get access to a resource like this, if you have the opportunity you should take advantage of it. If you live in the Chicago-land area, Jake’s Country Meats supplies several grocery stores, restaurants and farmers markets in the area. Check out their website for a list of locations (click on their name above to go to the site). Not only will you be getting some of the best pork around, you’ll be supporting local farmers. Win-win!