Norwegian-Inspired Porchetta Christmas Sandwich

Merry Christmas one and jule!

Done in 3 hours (plus resting in fridge overnight the day before)

Twisted: Unserious food tastes seriously good.
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Ingredients

I love Christmas sandwiches. This one is very vaguely inspired by Norways preferred Xmas dinner of pork rib and crackling. We've got some berries, some sprouts and lots of string. Juniper and dill provide tantalising wafts of the Fjords (I've never been to Norway but we can all imagine).

Method

Begin the day before if you want good crackling. As ever, the provenance of your pork is going to make a huge impact on how it tastes. Try and steer clear of shrink wrapped flabby monstrosities. Simply take the belly and leave it in a roasting tray in the fridge - this will help the skin to dry out and puff up.

The next day grab the garlic cloves, sea salt, caraway, fennel seed, juniper berries, dill and parsley and wizz them together in a food processor to a rough paste.

Take the belly from the fridge and use a very sharp sturdy knife to stab it all over, making sure you properly penetrate the tough skin. Bash the whole thing with a meat hammer/normal hammer/rolling pin - this'll help it crackle up ever more.

Score it on the flesh side quite deeply, roughly 3cm down. Rub the green herby paste from earlier into the flesh side. Take the loin and place it in the middle of the rectangular belly - your aim is to wrap the belly up around the loin. It won't be able to go all the way round but that's fine.

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Tightly bind the whole thing into a tight log and season all over. If it still feels chilled from the fridge, let it sit for a further hour to come up to temperature before placing it in the oven for 40 minutes. Turn it halfway if your oven is prone to scorching things on one side. When 40 minutes is up, turn the heat down to 130°C and let it slowly render its fat and become delicious for roughly an hour and a half.

Peel the parsnips and heat the oil in a sturdy saucepan until the oil hits 170°C. Use a mandolin to cut wafer thin slices of the parsnip (discard some of the smaller ones) and fry them in batches until golden and crisp. Remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon and briefly drain them on kitchen paper and season with salt.

Mix all the ingredients for the sprout slaw and set aside.

Return your attentions to the porchetta. Is it crispy all over? Does the meat inside look tender AF? Then it's ready. Blast it with a few extra minutes in the oven if necessary.

Leave it to cool a little then use a bread knife to cut it into circles, crackling and all.

To make the pickles, cut the cucumber into circles and salt them in a colander for half an hour. When the time's up, drain the water away and pat them dry with towels. Mix the sugar, vinegar and hot water together until the sugar has dissolved then toss the cucumber pieces through the pickling liquid.

Serve in toasted potato buns. Spread the bottom bun with mayonnaise then top with the lingonberry jam, dill pickles and sprout slaw. Place a good roundel of porchetta on top and finish with the top bun.

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Hugh Woodward

Hugh Woodward

Hugh's culinary life began aged 14 when he cooked spaghetti hoop burritos to impress girls. Since then his colourful career has taken him to performing in Skegness, making cheese in Peckham, running a wine bar on Columbia Road and reluctantly working in a (briefly) Michelin Starred restaurant. He likes fish, things cooked on charcoal, cheap dinners and London's rich cultural tapestry of food shops. When he's not cooking or eating he can be found mudlarking by the river Thames, buying bits in flea markets and hanging out with his cat Keith.

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