I’m back with another recipe post! And this time it’s another way to prepare pork belly. Some of you might know that I’m partial to Filipino cuisine, and have actually shared a few recipes on my blog including the Tortang Talong, Banana Ketchup, Pork Adobo etc. Recently I’ve met quite a few talented artists from the Philippines as I’ve been doing live streaming through an international music platform called SessionsLive (check out my profile here). Well, these new friends have inspired me to make more Filipino dishes again, so thanks guys!
Lechon is a Spanish word which refers to roasted baby piglet. Nowadays though in the Philippines it’s more widely used to cover crispy pork in general. It is usually made during special occasions when they will roast an entire adult pig outdoors. However, in the modern days more people tend to do a smaller roasts to fit their household needs.
That’s why you’ll see many different variation of the name: Lechon Kawali which looks like our Siew Yoke but its deep fried, Lechon Liempo which is roast pork belly, and today I’d like to share a very specific type of rolled up Pork Belly called Lechon Porchetta. Note that: Porchetta is an Italian name though so I believe somewhere along the line someone must have modernised this and gave it a new name.
Anyway, this dish might be rather time consuming, but it’s actually pretty easy to prepare! It requires a bit of fine motor skills to manage the kitchen string, totally worth it though as the result is of super juice tender meat infused with the beautiful aroma from the herbs and that amazing crackling! Of course, this is completely keto-friendly.
1 slab pork belly, around 1-2kg
1 tablespoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup vinegar (I use Apple cider vinegar)
2 stalks lemongrass
2-3 stalks of spring onions, cut to smaller size
3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
A tablespoon Tamari
Yellow onion and Unpeeled Garlic Cloves
With a knife, cut the thinner top portion of the lemongrass stalk and the very woody base. Peel off the tougher outer layers to get to the tender part of the stalk. With the back of a knife, pound the stalk a few times.
Place the pork belly skin side down on a flat working surface. Arrange the lemongrass stalks and spring onions in the middle, onions, and garlic all over the meat side, sparing the corners slightly.
Roll the pork belly into a tight log, ending with skin side up. Using kitchen string, tie on three to four places to secure the shape.
Using paper towels, pat down surfaces of skin to completely dry. Place the belly roll on a roasting pan which is lined with some cut up onions and garlic (you’ll thank me later)
Bake in a preheated 180c oven for 2 1/2 hours until the skin is starting to brown. I like to take it out at this point and brush on some tamari, it will give the skin a lovely deep golden colour.
Increase temperature to 210c and continue to cook for about 30-40 minutes until the skin bubbles and is very crisp. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Sauce: While the Lechon is resting, pour out the charred onions and garlic and all juices, skim the fat if needed, and reduce the liquid to a thick gravy. And will you just look at this!
I believe traditionally Lechon is served with Liver sauce. So if you have some pork liver at hand you could also add it to the gravy! I must try it next time too.
I served my Lechon Porchetta with some Spicy Okra and Cabbage and believe me when I say it was a fabulous meal!
Do you have a favourite Filipino dish?