Hi Nose-To-Tail folks,
Since a lot of folks on the forum are making bacon, there is probably a lot of pig skin lying around that people are wondering what to do with. This recipe is a delicious way to use up some of that skin.
Braciole is an Italian dish that is a thin steak (like flank steak) that is seasoned, rolled up, seared, simmered in a tomato sauce, then served sliced with the tomato sauce. Pig skin braciole is the same concept but using pig skin instead of the thin steak.
I had a package of pork neck bones that I've been needing to use, so I used them to make a nice pork ragu. Pork neck bones yield some meat that is just incredibly flavorful, although there isn't a lot of it. But they work great for making meat sauce.
First they are seasoned with salt and pepper.
Then I roasted them in a preheated 450 deg F oven for around 30 minutes until nicely browned.
Then I poured in a pint of chicken stock, covered the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and braised the neck bones in the oven at 250 deg F for about 4 hours until the meat was falling of the bone. I pulled the meat off the bones and shredded it. The meat is going to be stirred into a quart of homemade marinara sauce that I've had in the freezer from last summer. I put the braising liquid from the pork into the refrigerator for a couple of hours so that I could defat it.
While the neck bones were braising, I made the pig skin braciole. Start with about a lb or so of pig skin. The picture below is actually around 2 lbs, so I only used half of it.
Take your skin and trim away as much fat as you easily can. Divide your skin into squares or rectangles that are around 5 inches wide and maybe a little longer. Mine came out around 5 inches wide by 8 inches long. Lay the skin fat side up. Don't score the skin, just leave the skin intact.
Season the fat side with S&P, grated parmesan, chopped parsley. You could throw some other stuff in there if you want. Next time I'll probably add in some panko bread crumbs.
Starting at one end, roll each pig skin section up tightly into a little roll (skin side on the outside), and then use butcher's twine to tie it like a little roast.
Heat a little olive oil in a pan, and brown the pig skin rolls lightly on all sides. If you can do this in a braising dish or a pan with a tightly fitting lid, you won't have to get another pan dirty.
After browning, remove the pig skin rolls and set them on a plate. I then poured my quart of marinara into the same pan, and stirred in my shredded pork meat.
I brought this up to a simmer on the stove top, then nestled my pig skin braciole into the sauce. I made sure the braciole were covered by the sauce, then put on a tight lid and simmered the sauce in the oven at 250 deg F for 3 more hours to get the pig skin deliciously tender. Or you could just simmer your pan on the stove top if you don't have an oven-safe braising dish.
While this was simmering, I made up some creamy polenta. I used the defatted braising liquid I had reserved after cooking the neck bones (delicious and rich tasting), only because I had it and might as well use it, but chicken stock works well too. The creamy polenta recipe calls for 2 cups of stock, 2 cups of heavy cream or half-and-half, 1 cup of polenta, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, and a couple of Tbsp unsalted butter. Yes, it is incredibly rich, but man is it good.
Bring the stock and cream up to a boil on the stove top, then slowly whisk in the polenta.
Lower the heat to a simmer, and keep whisking or stirring the polenta continuously until all the liquid is absorbed. This takes around 10 minutes or so.
When the liquid is all absorbed, stir in the parmesan and butter. The polenta will thicken more as it cools, so I then set it to the side for a few minutes while I removed the braciole from the sauce and sliced it.
Here are the braciole out of the sauce. They should be very tender and easy to slice, almost pillowy in texture.
I sliced them into about 1/4" to 1/3" thick slices. Here are the slices from 2 of the rolls (minus a few that I already popped into my mouth!)
And here is the finished dish! A bed of creamy polenta, topped with some pork neck ragu and a few pig braciole.
The little pig skin braciole are fun to eat and very tasty...the texture is soft, pillowy, and a little chewy. They are pretty easy to make, and to keep things super simple you could just cook them using jarred spaghetti sauce. I hope that folks give them a try!
Sorry for the long post! But to anyone who actually read this whole thing -- thank you so much for checking out my post!!
Have a great night!