This recipe serves a large crowd. For smaller gatherings, cook just one rib roast and cut all the other ingredients in half. If you can’t get bone-in pork rib roasts locally, substitute pork loin roast or even thick pork chops—adjust the cooking times accordingly. The citrus marinade is also excellent with chicken.
- Two 5-bone pork rib roasts, each about 4 pounds
- 3 lemons, sliced into eighths and seeded
- 3 navel oranges, sliced into eighths
- 1/2 grapefruit, sliced into quarters and seeded
- 1/2 sweet onion, peeled and quartered
- 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 3 small sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided use
- 10 whole cloves
- 10 fresh or 5 dried bay leaves
- 8 juniper berries, crushed, or 1/4 cup gin
- Sea salt and coarsely ground fresh black pepper
- 3 large fennel bulbs
- 15 kumquats
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
Put the pork roasts in one or two jumbo-sized resealable plastic bags, a large glass bowl, or baking dish. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the lemons, oranges, grapefruit, onion, garlic, oregano, fennel seeds, and 1/4 cup of olive oil and pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped and juicy. Take the bowl off the processor base, remove the blade, and stir in the cloves, bay leaves, and juniper berries or gin. Pour the marinade over the pork roasts. Seal the bags and place them in a roasting pan to contain any leaks or, if marinating in a large container, cover well with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight or up to 24 hours, turning periodically to redistribute the marinade.
When ready to cook, preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare a very large roasting pan by lining it with foil (for an easy cleanup) and placing a roasting rack in it; set aside. Scrape the marinade off the roasts and pat dry with paper towels. Generously season on all sides with salt and pepper. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat. Sear one roast until caramelized, turning as needed with tongs, and then transfer it to the roasting pan. Repeat with the other roast. Place the pan in the upper two-thirds of the oven (you’ll need a second oven rack placed in the bottom third for the fennel and kumquats). Set a timer for 40 minutes.
While the pork is roasting, prepare the fennel. Cut off the fronds, the feathery green tops of the fennel stalks, chop a few and set aside. Refrigerate the rest of the fronds for other uses. Trim the bottoms of the bulbs and cut off the stalks; reserve the stalks for another dish or the next time you make stock. Cut each bulb vertically through the core into 4 sections. Drizzle the bottom of a rimmed baking sheet with some of the remaining olive oil and arrange the fennel pieces on top. Drizzle more olive oil over the fennel. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange the kumquats among the fennel. Place the baking sheet on the lower rack of your oven when the timer goes off. Roast, turning once, until the fennel is tender and golden brown, about 40 minutes. Transfer the fennel and kumquats to a platter. Dust with the grated cheese and garnish with the reserved fennel fronds.
Remove the pork roasts from the oven when the internal temperature in the thickest part is 140°F, about 1 hour and 20 minutes total (this should coincide with the fennel/kumquat cooking time). Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing into chops. Serve with the roasted fennel and kumquats.
Yields 10 servings