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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Slow Cooked Porchetta with Macadamia Nut Pesto

It's no secret how much I'm into grilling. Yet there are times, yes even in the summer, that a slow cooked crock pot dish is the right choice. Case in point, we were hosting an evening barbecue for a friends birthday ... after an afternoon Cubs game ... in the Bleachers!
How that was ever agreed to is still beyond me. The most important point of the day is that the food needed to be easy to put together with all of the work done ahead of time.  

Without getting into too many details, porchetta is traditionally an Italian street food in which a pig is stuffed with herbs, roasted over a spit then sliced for sandwiches. I enjoyed this while in Amondola, Italy some years back and still crave it today.

My version takes on a different form being slow cooked in the crock pot, but it's still tasty and juicy; admittedly not the original though. However adding the macadamia nut pesto to this sandwich takes it in a whole different direction.

I did stuff a second pork which was cooked on the grill and that version is closer to the original than the crock version; both are good options. Try a slow cooked pulled porchetta for your next barbecue, you may like the Fat and Happy freedom it offers.

Fat and Happy Food Blog Tips and Techniques: Homemade buns help to set these sandwiches apart from just any other pulled pork sandwich; I suggest taking the time to make them to really blow the lid off this sandwich.
Slow Cooked Pork Sandwiches with Macadamia Nut Pesto

2lbs Pork shoulder or butt (use a tenderloin if you are going to grill it)
1 red onion
10 garlic cloves
1 tbls dried Sage
fresh sage and oregano, chopped (handful each)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 stem of fresh rosemary, chopped
salt, pepper and seasoning salt
1 cup red wine

Dice the onion small, saute in a drizzle of olive oil to soften. Add the finely diced garlic, dried sage and red pepper flakes, continue to cook over medium low heat about 3-4 minutes to soften the garlic. Add in the fresh herbs, salt and pepper, remove from heat and cool.

Pound out the pork slightly, add the stuffing mixture over the pork and roll up. Season the pork well (add more seasoning than you think you need) and place seam side down in the crock pot. (If you want to grill it, secure the rolled pork with kitchen twine and finish it off on the grill at this point.)

Add 1 cup of red wine to the pork in the crock pot, place the cover on, set the temperature to low and cook for about 8 hours. Use two forks to shred the pork. Allow the pork to soak up the extra juice, it will make the sandwiches so good.

Scoop the pulled porchetta onto buns and drizzle with the macadamia nut pesto.

Macadamia Nut Pesto

1/2 cup toasted Macadamia nuts
2 large garlic cloves
2 tbls fresh sage
2 tbls fresh thyme
1 cup fresh parsley
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil

Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in small food processor, blend the ingredients while slowly drizzling in the olive oil. If you need more than 1/2 cup to reach your desired consistency, try using a little white wine or water so that the pesto is not too oily.  Add salt and pepper as needed for taste.

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