You'd be hard pressed to find a more delicious centerpiece for your holiday table than this tender, crispy, savory and succulent porchetta.
Swap option: Instead of apples, try snap peas, spring onions, or garlic and spinach, cooked slowly in olive oil. Hakurei turnips are a small, white, mild variety. If you can't find them, you may substitute other small, mild turnips.
For the porchetta:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, mix the ground pork, apples, salt, sage, thyme, ginger, sugar, cinnamon and white pepper thoroughly to incorporate.
On a cutting board, lay out the porcelet, skin-side down. Remove any bones, leaving you with the pork belly and attached loin. Using a sharp knife, trim the pork belly, leaving 3/4-inch of meat attached to the skin. Season the inside of the belly with salt, then spread the ground pork mixture along the center of the belly above the loin.
Starting from the loin side, roll the porcelet tightly into a log, then tie with butcher’s twine into a roast.
In a roasting pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sear the porcelet roast, turning as needed, until golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Cook in the oven until a thermometer inserted through one of the ends reads 140°F, about 1¼- to 1½-hours (make sure you are getting a read from the ground pork mixture since that is the center).
For the braised cabbage:
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the wine, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, covered, until the cabbage is tender but still has a firmness to it, 12-15 minutes. Set aside until ready to reheat for plating.
For the roasted apples and turnips:
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the turnips and cook, flipping as needed, until the turnips are golden brown and tender, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a sheet pan.
To the skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the apples and cook, turning as needed until golden brown and tender, 4-5 minutes. Transfer to the sheet pan with the turnips. Toss the turnips and apples with the sage leaves and butter, then season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Just before you are ready to serve, place the sheet pan back in a hot oven for five minutes to reheat the apples and turnips.
For the sauce:
Transfer the cooked porchetta to a cutting board and tent with foil; let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the pan drippings to a measuring cup to allow the fat to separate.
Pour off most of the fat, so you are left with about 1/2 cup of pan drippings. Whisk in the mustards and season with salt. Carve the roast into 1-inch slices (add any drippings on the board to the sauce, adjusting the seasoning as needed).
Fan out the pork slices on a serving board over the braised cabbage and alongside the roasted apples and turnips, apple butter and remaining sauce, then serve.
Courtesy of chef/owner Tom Colicchio and executive chef Bryan Hunt of Fowler & Wells restaurant.