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Roast Suckling Pig (Cochinillo Asado)

This is one of the great specialities of Castile, and of Segovia in particular. Stuffings vary from cook to cook, but almost any fairly light one would he suitable instead of the ingredients suggested below. The pig should be roasted for about 20 minutes per half kilo {pound).

ingredients

14 - 16 servings
3 Garlic cloves, crushed
2 Onions, chopped
2 Bouquets garnis
1 bunch Chopped parsley
7 1/4 kg (16 1b) Suckling pig, prepared
Salt and pepper to taste
50 ml (2 fl oz) 1/4 cup Olive oil
125 ml (4 fl oz) 1/2 cup Lemon juice

for the garnish

1 Small red apple
Fresh herbs to taste
4 Large oranges, sliced
125 g (4 oz) 1 cup Black grapes, seeded and halved

method

1. Put the garlic, onions, bouquets garnis and parsley into the pig and close the cavity with skewers or a trussing needle and thread. Rub the pig all over with salt and pepper. Then rub over half the olive oil and lemon juice. Set aside for 1 hour, then rub the remaining oil and juice into the skin of the pig, using your fingertips.

2. Preheat the oven to hot 220°C (Gas Mark 7,425°F)-

3. Place a small piece of wood or a ball of aluminium foil in the mouth of the pig to wedge it open, and place balls of foil in the eye sockets. Cover the ears with foil and curl the tail and secure it with a wooden cocktail stick. Pull the front legs forwards and the back legs forwards and tie them with string.

4. Transfer the pig, on its stomach, to a deep roasting pan and place the pan in the oven. Roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to warm 170°C (Gas Mark 3, 325 °F) and roast the pig for a further 5 1/2 to 6 hours, basting frequently with the pan juices. Drain off the cooking juices occasionally, leaving about a 1 cm (1/2 in) depth.

5. Increase the oven temperature to hot 220°C (Gas Mark 7, 425°F) and roast the pig for a final 20 minutes, or until the skin is crisp. Remove from the oven.

6. To serve the pig, untie the legs and remove the wood or foil from the mouth, eye socket and ears. Untie the tail. Transfer the pig to a large serving platter and surround with the garnishes. Insert the apple into the pig's mouth if you wish, or you can cut it into slices and arrange with the orange.

7. Serve at once.

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