Not into turkey at Christmas? Cook this fennel stuffed porchetta instead

Anything but turkey (part two): This boned and rolled pork roast, with a stuffing of fennel and onion, fresh herbs and lemon zest, will impress your guests, and the leftovers will make an epic sandwich

Move over turkey, and make room for this stunning stuffed pork dish, an Irish interpretation of an Italian classic. It is from And for Mains, the cookbook written by chef and restaurateur Gaz Smith and butcher Rick Higgins, with journalist Nicola Brady, which last year won the Chefs & Restaurants category of the prestigious IACP Cookbook Awards in the US. The recipe is credited to Smith and Higgins’s pal Barry Stephens, who runs the 147 Deli on Parnell Street, Dublin.

In the book, Barry says: “You want to keep a porchetta really simple – you don’t want to put much in the way of it. I don’t even know if mine is a traditional porchetta stuffing, but it’s really good. And everything is better with stuffing, right? I want this stuffing to really punch you in the face with flavour. It’s got to go toe to toe with three kilos of pork and still be tasty enough for sandwiches the following day if there are any leftovers – and that’s a big if.

“You can eat this porchetta as is, but it works so well in a sandwich. I’d use nice bread, good butter and maybe some really thinly sliced fennel tossed in apple cider vinegar and a little bit of watercress.” Sounds like the perfect St Stephen’s Day sandwich.

Here is the recipe, plus a few more pork favourites from The Irish Times archive. If you like the sound of And for Mains, there are more recipes from the book here.


Recipe: Barry’s porchetta

Recipe: Pork and spiced onion Wellington, khubani chutney

Recipe: Slow cooked pork with yum yum sauce

Recipe: Chinese barbecue pork