This Italian dish has been adapted by the Philippines, now going by the name of Lechon Belly or Boneless Lechon. It’s really a festive dish, largely because it looks like a complicated thing to prepare but it’s really not. All you need are a trusted butcher (or pork monger), a good twine, and an oven or turbo broiler. This recipe yields 6-8 servings.
- 1-Kg slab of pork belly
- 1/2 cup coarse salt
- 1 tbsp crushed black pepper
- 2 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 stalks of lemongrass (Tanglad)
- 1 medium-sized white onion, chopped finely
- 1/2 cup Sage leaves, chopped coarsely
- Kitchen twine
- Lay the pork flat on a cutting board, skin side down. Score the meat (i.e., make long shallow cuts), not the skin, the slashes about two inches apart. Score again in the opposite direction so that the slashes criss-cross across the entire surface of the meat.
- Rub half of the salt and pepper all over the meat, including the skin, pushing the salt and pepper down into the slashes.
- Cut the lemongrass stalks into 2-inch pieces then pound in a mortar and pestle. Mix with the chopped onion, minced garlic, and dried oregano.
- Rub the mixture on the pork, pushing the spices down the slashes. Roll the pork, wrap tightly in cling film and keep overnight in the refrigerator.
- The next day is roasting day. Preheat the oven (I used Turbo Broiler) to 450F.
- Unwrap the pork and lay flat, skin side down. Spread the chopped sage leaves on the pork and sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper.
- Roll the pork as rightly as you can. Don’t worry if some of the herbs fall off; you can push them all back in later.
- Tie up the pork using kitchen twine.
- Roast at 450F for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 300F. Continue roasting for about an hour.
- Thirty minutes before cooking time is up, turn up the temperature to as high as it can go. This is the part when you brown the pork skin to make it crisp.
- Take the porchetta out of the oven, cover loosely with a sheet of foil and let the meat rest for about 20 minutes.
- Transfer the porchetta to a cutting board, cut and pull off the strings and start slicing and cutting.