Once we hit our 40's, eating healthy should become the norm rather than a fad. But let's face it, we still enjoy a slice of decadent chocolate cake or a slab of juicy steak when opportunity knocks. We all have our guilty pleasures when it comes to food. And the holidays seem to make it worse, as the extended family gathers and (maybe for most of us) we put up with each other's company. But that's what family is all about.
Last Christmas, I had the chance to share my guilty pleasure with my family. This is my version of the iconic Italian dish Porchetta. It is the savory, fatty, succulent and ever so tempting pork dish that is always a crowd-pleaser. From your local Italian restaurant to Mario Batali, a Porchetta recipe is easily available.
Porchetta ala Malou
salt and pepper
5 cloves garlic
6 stalks of lemongrass
1 pack bacon (chopped)
2 tbsp Thyme (fresh, chopped; if using dried, use 1/3 less)
2 tbsp Rosemary
Using a mortar and pestle, pound the lemongrass. Make sure to get the juices out. Add the garlic and continue to pound. Add thyme, rosemary and generous amount of salt and pepper. Set lemongrass mixture.
Lay the pork belly on a flat surface with skin side up. Using a meat mallet, pound the skin all over. This will make the skin crispy.
Flip the belly and rub the lemongrass mixture generously. Spread a thin layer of the chopped bacon. Roll the pork and secure with cooking twine.
Now, rub the lemongrass mixture all over the skin. Refrigerate roast overnight. (If you have the time, 2 nights would be preferred)
Let the pork belly sit at room temperature. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Use a baine marie and place the pork belly. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes and reduce temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake for 1 hour. Remove cover. Bake it for another hour or until roast reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.
Set the oven on broil until the skin is crispy and mahogany brown. This takes a few minutes so better keep an eye on it. Let it rest for 30 minutes.