Christmas Recipe: Roast some pork
What are you cooking special for your family and friends this Christmas? Let's try something different and lavish. What about 'fig-stuffed roast suckling pig'? This is an amazing recipe that can be made either on a rotisserie over a fire pit or in an oven if the pig is small enough. Here is the recipe:
A suckling pig (about 10 to 12 lb)
A box of sea salt
Olive oil, about 3 or 4 tbsp plus extra for basting
A bottle of rose or rich white wine, more if needed
1 lb. chard leaves - thick stems removed, boiled for a few seconds, rinsed in cold water, drained and chopped.
12 oz old, firm bread, crust removed, soaked in milk and squeezed so that it is almost dry
4 oz young, fresh goat cheese
4 oz ricotta cheese
12 oz fresh figs, chopped coarsely
4 oz walnuts, chopped
2 cloves, ground to a powder
Freshly grated nutmeg, a pinch
Additional salt and pepper
Optional: Additional pork fat from the butcher
- A day before cooking, pour abundant coarse salt all over the pig, inside and out, and rub in to all surfaces and leave overnight in your refrigerator or other cool place.
- Before cooking discard the liquid which has accumulated in the tray and wipe the suckling pig dry with towels.
- While your fire pit is being prepared, prepare the stuffing for the pig. Mash together the eggs and cheeses in a large bowl. Add the walnuts, figs, chard, milk-soaked bread pieces, cloves, nutmeg and salt and pepper and mix all the ingredients together thoroughly with your hands.
- After trussing the whole pig to the rotisserie spit securely (but not yet set over the fire pit!) and before lacing up the chest and abdominal cavity, push the stuffing into the pig's chest cavity and then the abdominal cavity.
- Lace up the abdominal opening securely and truss the legs.
- With a sharp paring knife make superficial slits in the skin, never cutting all the way through the skin. One cut should go down the back and there should be three or four down each side diagonally from front to back. None of the score marks should cross another. This is to prevent the skin from rupturing as the pig cooks and the skin tightens.
- Rub all over with olive oil and wrap pieces of aluminium foil around the ears and tail to prevent their burning. These can be removed a few minutes before the roast suckling pig is done.
- If you are cooking in an oven, the pig's own fat will collect in the roasting pan and, combined with the wine, makes a good basting liquid. However, when roasting over an open fire or charcoal the fat falls into the fire and cannot easily be collected. Instead, if you are able to get extra pork fat from your butcher, this can be rendered in a pan and then combined with warm wine to create a suitable basting mixture. If fat is not available, olive oil or melted butter mixed with the warmed-up wine can be used as a substitute. Keep this mixture warm, near boiling.
- Check that the temperature at the level that the roast suckling pig will be is around 250 to 350 degrees above your fire pit. A meat thermometer or grill thermometer is good for doing this. This heat can then be maintained by occasionally adding small amounts of firewood or charcoal.
- Secure your spit to the rotisserie and begin it turning.
- After about 30 minutes or so, begin basting liberally with the pork fat and wine mixture. Baste every 10 to 20 minutes. Over time this will help develop a rich, glazed appearance to the skin.
- Continue cooking in this manner for about 3 to 3 and half hours. This cooking time will depend on the heat of your fire pit as well as the size of your roast suckling pig.
- Pork should reach about 150 to 160 degrees at least to be finished.
Enjoy the food and compliments.
- When done, remove your spit from your rotisserie and set the roast suckling pig aside to rest for about 30 minutes. Then place in a large platter and remove all the trussing twine and the spit.