Roast suckling pig

Roast suckling pig

By
From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery
Serves
12-15

Measure your oven and, when ordering the pig, specify the size you require. If necessary, ask the butcher to saw it in half across the middle and arrange to have one-half cooked in a friend’s or neighbour’s oven. Also ask the butcher to score the sides of the pig diagonally at 2.5 cm intervals from behind the head to the tail.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 suckling pig, weighing 6–7 kg
olive oil
watercress and baked apples, (optional) to garnish

Stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
2 onions, finely chopped
6 spring onions, finely chopped
125g butter
1 lemon, zested
480g fresh white breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons mixed fresh herbs, finely chopped
or 3 tablespoons parsley, chopped, mixed with 1 tablespoon mixed dried herbs
freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
salt

Method

  1. Make stuffing first. Fry onions and spring onions in half the butter until soft. Stir in remaining butter then lemon zest, breadcrumbs, herbs, salt, pepper and eggs. Pack loosely into pig.
  2. Sew up opening, or secure with skewers and lace them with string. Cover ears and tail with foil to protect them from burning.
  3. Place pig in a large baking dish on its belly with feet tucked in neatly, brush with oil and rub with salt. Bake in a preheated very hot oven (230°C) for about 45 minutes or until skin starts to crisp, then lower heat to a moderate 180°C and roast for a further 3 hours or until cooked. A small pig of 6 kg will take about 2½ hours. If the pig is cut in half, cooking time will be the same.
  4. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer inserted in thickest part of flesh, not touching bone; the pig will be cooked when internal temperature reaches 85°C. Failing a meat thermometer, pierce thickest part with a skewer and check juice that comes out; when pig is done, it will be quite clear with no tinge of pink. Leave pig in turned-off oven with door ajar for 20 minutes before serving.
  5. Place pig on a large platter or board. Serve hot or at room temperature, garnishing platter with watercress and baked apples or other garnish of your choice. If pig is in 2 halves, arrange a watercress garland, secured with toothpicks, over the join.
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