Roast Suckling Pig (Cochinillo Asado)

This is a real must and the suckling pigs will soon be available in all Spanish Supermarkets.
1 (6- to 7-pound) suckling pig
2 cups water
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lard or olive oil

Position 1 rack in the middle of the oven and a second rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 ° F.
Place the pig, back side up, on a cutting board. Using a heavy knife, cut it in half along the backbone, stopping just short of cutting all the way through, so that it will lie flat like an open book. Season the pig generously on both sides with salt. Place the pig, skin side down, in a large roasting pan and place on the middle rack in the oven. Roast the pig for 1 hour, adding ½ cup water to the pan every 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix together the garlic and the lard. After the pig has cooked for 1 hour, remove it from the oven and increase the oven heat to 450 ° F. Being careful not to burn yourself, turn the pig skin side up and rub it with the garlic and lard mixture. Return the pig to the top rack of the oven and roast for about 30 minutes longer, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp.

Remove the pig from the oven, then transfer the pig to a cutting board. Strain the pan juices through a fine-mesh sieve held over a small saucepan and heat gently on the stove top. Cut the pig into serving pieces and arrange on a warmed platter. Spoon the pan juices over the pig and serve immediately with fresh salad.

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