From Melissa Clark in the New York Times, here is an unbelievably delicious pork roast for your festive table.
Melissa says: This rich, crackling-coated pork roast has all the intense garlic, lemon and herb flavors of a classic Italian porchetta, but is much simpler to make (case in point: you don’t need to de-bone a whole pig). The only potentially tricky part is scoring the skin. If you are buying the meat from your butcher you can have them do it for you. Or, use your sharpest knife or a razor blade. It’s worth the effort for the amber-colored cracklings it produces. The recipe feeds a crowd, so make it for a large gathering. Or plan on leftovers, which make excellent sandwiches for lunch the next day.
If 7 or 8 pounds of pork roast is too much for you, another option is to ask your butcher to coarsely grind 2 pounds of the meat. Then you can make Sausage Rolls for Boxing Day. This ploy worked once, but the next time I asked a butcher to do this he laughed at me.
1 (7- to 8-pound) bone-in, skin-on pork shoulder roast, or a 6- to 7-pound boneless roast, fat trimmed to 1/4-inch thickness
¼ cup chopped fennel fronds
¼ cup chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage leaves
5 garlic cloves, grated or mashed to a paste
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 ½ tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fennel seed
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Score skin and fat all over pork (see Melissa’s comments above), taking care not to cut down to the meat.
In a food processor, combine fennel fronds, rosemary, sage, garlic, lemon zest, salt, fennel seed, red pepper flakes and black pepper. Pour in oil. Pulse or mash until it forms a paste. Rub all over pork. If using a boneless roast, tie with kitchen string at 2-inch intervals. Transfer to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6 hours and preferably overnight.
Remove pork from refrigerator 1 to 2 hours before you want to cook it. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Transfer pork to a rimmed baking sheet and roast 35 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and cook an additional 2 hours 45 minutes to 4 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat reads 180 degrees, which will give you sliceable, tender meat. (Bone-in roasts will take longer than boneless ones.)
Transfer pork to a cutting board and let rest 15 to 30 minutes before serving. Make sure everyone gets some of the cracklings.