It's probably not a term you hear every day, unless you're familiar with the culinary traditions of Italy. There, porketta — or porchetta, as it's also spelled — is a savory dish that results after a pig is gutted, stuffed with herbs and roasted over an open fire. In America, you can duplicate the moist and savory flavor of porketta by purchasing a pork loin roast — chosen because of the flavor supplied by the nearby bone — in your Crock-Pot.
Things You'll Need
Kosher salt, lemon-pepper seasoning, sage and rosemary (optional for brine)
2- to 3-pound pork loin roast
Cut-up potatoes (optional)
Nonfat cooking spray
Garlic cloves or minced garlic (optional)
Dried Italian seasoning
Oregano, garlic powder, garlic salt, celery seed and red pepper flakes (all optional for pork rub)
Chicken broth or white wine
Fresh or dried parsley
Take a page out of old-time Italian cookbooks and brine your pork loin roast for 24 hours before cooking it, if you have the time. Submerge it in water sprinkled with kosher salt, lemon-pepper seasoning and sage and rosemary, if you like them.
Spray the slow cooker with nonfat cooking spray and add a few cut-up red or Yukon gold potatoes, if desired. Add several cloves of garlic or minced garlic, if you like.
Combine your porketta seasonings in a small bowl. To a packet of dried Italian seasoning, consider adding oregano, garlic powder, garlic salt and celery seed. For extra zest, add a few sprinkles of red pepper flakes. Rub this mixture into the roast.
Slice the roast in thirds, secure each one securely with string and place the pieces in the slow cooker, on top of the potatoes, if you chose to add them. Add about a cup of chicken broth or white wine, then some fresh or dried parsley.
Cook the porketta for 8 to 10 hours on the "low" setting or for 4 to 6 hours on the "high" setting, turning once about halfway through the cooking time. Test the doneness with a meat thermometer; it should register at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
Transfer the meat to a serving dish. Let it sit for a few minutes; slice and serve.
Why does applesauce make such an appropriate companion to pork dishes of all kinds? Actually, citrus fruits in particular enhance the mild flavor of pork, but for an Italian-style porketta, applesauce will provide a sweet but mild counterpart.