Sunday, July 29, 2012

Pork Chop Porchetta on Farinata: Another Grainless Wonder

Your Cousin Vinny is probably going to come after me. My Uncle Tony is probably rolling in his grave. Spinning.  There is nothing in the world more delicious than a really well-made Italian porchetta sandwich made with juicy, seasoned, braised pork shoulder on a really good crusty, hard roll. I make a really scrumptious porchetta, almost an Italian pulled pork, and we live near Carangi's suburban branch -- a great Philadelphia Italian bakery that has the perfect rolls. I have two problems, though.

First, my porchetta recipe makes an enormous amount of the luscious, juicy pork, so my family of two would be eating it for a couple of weeks, and my system can't handle a lot of wheat starch. But it's such a familiar comfort food that I had to find a way around those hurdles. Luckily, I have a half of a freezer full of pork chops from that whole pork loin I bought a few weeks ago and showed you how to cut up here, and there is another Italian specialty that I can eat ---farinata. Farinata is the Italian version of the French Socca. Both are basically thin, crisp-ish flatbreads made solely from chickpea flour, water and olive oil. No grain, no gluten, and deliciously and fabulously authentic. It's also speedy to prepare as long as you remember to make the thin batter ahead and let it stand. By seasoning the chops with traditional porchetta seasonings and  braising all day in my slow cooker, Chuck and I can have a really good porchetta dinner in less than 30 minutes from when I pull into the driveway. I think Vinny and Tony would scarf this version down, too.
Pork Chop Porchetta, ready to serve!
You can  use my Socca recipe here, without adding any of the toppings. Or to make a Farinata, here's a link to the blog Kalyn's Kitchen where you'll find great, easy instructions. I use a slightly smaller pan to bake it for this,  as I want it a bit breadier and less crisp so it will sop up the gorgeous pork juice and I leave out the rosemary as there is plenty in the meat. These are great gluten free recipes to have in your file even if you don't make porchetta.

Note: I make this in a slow cooker, but it can easily be made in a dutch oven, in the oven at 325ºF for 2-1/2 hours. Generally, most traditional recipes include sage, but since we aren't fond of it, we've always subbed thyme. And in this non-traditional version, which is really more like a porchetta pulled pork, I've used some roasted peppers, both for color and flavor, and because loin is far leaner than pork shoulder. Enjoy every bite!
The Pork Chop Porchetta seasonings ready to go.
Pork Chop Porchetta
Serves 6
2-1/2 lb. boneless pork loin or sirloin pork chops or loin chunks
1 T extra virgin olive oil
2T ground fennel seed
6 garlic cloves, pureed or crushed
2T fresh rosemary leaves
6-8 fresh thyme sprigs
3/4 cup dry white wine
fresh ground black pepper
kosher salt
1 cup roasted sweet red bell pepper, chopped coarsely
Slap on the slow cooker lid; when you get back, it's Porchetta for dinner...
Place the pork in the crock of the slow cooker and toss with the olive oil. Mix in the ground fennel, the pureed garlic, the rosemary and thyme. Add the wine, and grind some fresh black pepper over the top, and add a big pinch of kosher salt. Cover and cook on low for 9 hours. About 30 minutes before serving, stir in the roasted peppers.

Serve over farinata or socca, or in crusty rolls.

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