No.30
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Fennel & Garlic Roasted Pork

The big game Sunday is almost here…so what are you serving? How about an incredible Fennel and Garlic Roasted Pork, slow roasted to fork-tender, then piled high on ciabatta rolls? This slow roasted, “porchetta-like” recipe is a little jewel for a game day or any casual event, and comes with a lighter version as well: the Bijouxs take on an Italian marketplace classic.

From first time I tasted a porchetta sandwich in Italy, I knew I had to re-create the flavors at home: roasted to perfection pork encrusted with fennel, garlic and herbs, and piled high on a ciabatta roll.  So many versions of porchetta roasted pork recipes pop up in cookbooks; it seems the melt in your mouth, roasted pork has captured many a chef’s heart. This recipe, via The River Café, is simple, home cook friendly and ensures incredible results. Not only do I adore the flavor of this dish, but I love that is so easy, economical, and versatile – what more can you ask? Another boon is that Fennel & Garlic Roasted Pork can be created from almost any cut of pork roast – it’s not that fussy.

The simplicity of this roast pork recipe lies in the fact that after you crust the meat with its heavy dose of fennel and garlic, sear it at a high heat for 30 minutes, off it goes into the oven to slow roast at a low temperature, requiring nothing from you except of course your patience. Yes, patience is required as you wait the 4-12 hours, depending on the size of the roast.

This diminutive Fennel and Garlic Roasted Pork “lite” pictured, (I know oxymoron) only required 5 hours to roast to fork-tender, and utilized a lean cut of pork roast, a small boneless pork shoulder, butterflied (or ask your butcher), and then stuffed with additional fennel and garlic. (See the recipe card about how to serve the leaner version) To go whole hog, use a large pork shoulder butt roast, boneless or picnic cut bone-in, and increase the roast time to about 12 hours, which will seem like a 100 years once the heavenly smell begins to fill the kitchen.

As I mentioned, this is not a fussy dish, so the timing is not exact, but if you need to adjust your service time, cover with foil and keep warm, in fact when using a larger roast, it will continue to tenderize, just do not allow it to cook too long as it could become dry.

When cooking for an event, I either start the larger Fennel & Garlic Roast Pork very early in the am, or late right before bed if it will be served for lunch – oh, so very tough though to sleep with that wonderful scent wafting through the house.

Ok, so you want to know how Fennel & Garlic Roast Pork is versatile. The #1 one way to serve the pork is on ciabatta rolls that you first dip in a light, lemony pan gravy before piling the shredded meat on top. I also serve Fennel & Garlic Roasted Pork, especially a large bone-in roast, just as I would carnitas along with corn tortillas, a cilantro-onion chop and guacamole – fabulous tacos.  Of course you can serve the Fennel & Garlic Roasted Pork on its own, with your favorite sides, perhaps some Italian white beans and a salad.

Fennel & Garlic Roasted Pork offers a great change from ribs, BBQ, or honeyed hams, all the usual favorites for game days and casual events – another simple time and taste-tested Bijouxs.

As always, enjoy. B
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