Fennel laced porchetta

In Italy, porchetta is a much-loved dish in all its incarnations.
In its purest form it refers to a yearling pig (up to 50kg) vigorously flavoured with fennel, garlic and fresh herbs, wood fire roasted until the meat is juicy and tender and the skin is like glass. Our take on this classic is a rolled pork belly, laced with roasted fennel seeds, herbs and garlic, and a stuffing made with pork sausages, guanciale, fresh fennel, apple and day-old ciabatta. Serve as part of a feast or in beautiful simplicity stuffed into a fresh roll.










For the rub

  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted until fragrant, lightly crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fennel pollen (optional)
  • 3 tablespoons rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 20 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
  • 40ml extra virgin olive oil

For the stuffing

  • 100g guanciale, finely chopped (pancetta makes a good substitute)
  • 80g fennel, outer leaves removed, finely chopped, including fronds
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 rustic Italian pork and fennel sausages, casings removed
  • 1 green apple, grated
  • 50g day old ciabatta crumbs
  • 1 lemon, finely zested
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
  • 3kg pork belly
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • Twine, cut into 10 lengths


1. To make the rub

Combine the fennels, rosemary, thyme, sage, garlic, salt and olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. To make the stuffing

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add the guanciale, fennel and 1 tablespoon of the oil, sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a medium bowl crumble in the sausages, add the remaining oil, apple, ciabatta crumbs, lemon zest and the cooled fennel mix. Using your hands mix until well combined. Set aside.

3. To roll the pork

Lay the pork on a tray, skin side up, dry the skin with paper towel. Using a meat tenderiser or the sharp point of a skewer, pierce the skin all over, taking care not to pierce all the way through to the meat. Turn the pork over, score the meat lengthwise, creating channels at 5cm intervals. Next sprinkle the rub over the pork, massaging into the meat ensuring you cover every centimetre. Spoon the stuffing down the centre of the pork then roll the pork to create a tight roll. Using the cut lengths of twine, secure the roll, tying either end tightly with a length of twine, then using the remaining pieces, tie the entire roll at even intervals, trim excess twine. Set the pork roll seam side down on a wire rack over a baking tray. Wipe the skin with paper towel, then rub with half a lemon, store uncovered in the fridge for 24 – 48 hours – rubbing periodically (about four times in total) with lemon juice. Rubbing the lemon repeatedly over the pork skin helps to dry it out and break down some of the proteins, making it easier to achieve a crispy crackle.

4. To cook

Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before roasting. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roast the pork for two hours, reduce the temperature to 160°C and cook for another 45 minutes. The pork is done when the core temperature is around 70°C. Rest for 15-20 minutes before carving. Serve hot or cold. Serve with crusty ciabatta, rosemary white beans cooked in olive oil, peppery greens, aioli and pickled apple.

As seen in autumn 2024

BIDFOOD appetiser white
aMag Aut24 COVER WEB