- Serves: 10-12
- Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- Prep Time: 30 minutes plus resting time
- Effort: medium
- 1 x 4 kg suckling pig, make sure it can fit into your oven!
- 2 heads of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled
- 2 shallots, peeled and halved
- 2 dried red peppers
- 6 sprig thyme
- 5 bay leaves
- 2 lemons, sliced
- olive oil
For the olive oil mash
- 2.5 kg king edward potatoes, peeled
- 600 ml single cream
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 400 g unsalted butter, diced
- 125 ml extra virgin olive oil
For the spinach, pine nuts and raisins
- 50 g raisins
- 4 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 5 tbsp olive oil
- 75 g pine kernels
- 2-3 small shallots, peeled and finely diced
- 1 ½ kg spinach leaves, washed and well drained
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/gas mark 4.
2. Lay the pig, belly down on a large board with the legs splayed out to the sides.
Push down hard on the backbone to open up the ribcage and flatten it down on the board. If the pig is too big to fit in one large roasting tin (we usually find it is), cut it in 2 across the middle, using a sharp heavy knife. You can ask your butcher to do this first if you plan ahead. Put the head and shoulder end in one roasting pan and the leg and tail end in another. Pat the meat dry with kitchen paper.
3. Lift up the pig and scatter the garlic, shallots, dried peppers, thyme, bay leaves and lemon slices underneath it. Rub the skin all over with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper.
4. Put the roasting tins in the oven and roast for 1 hour. Swap the roasting tins around (to ensure even cooking) and cook for another hour. Swap the roasting tins again and cook for a further 30 minutes.
5. Now check to see if the skin is wonderfully crisp and deep brown. If so, transfer to warm platters and set aside to rest in a warm place until ready to carve. If not, return the pig to the oven for 20-30 minutes.
6. For the olive oil mash: cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces, boil in salted water until tender and drain. Slowly heat the cream in another pan, removing it from the heat just before it comes to the boil.
7. Crush the boiled potatoes through a potato ricer or a mouli-legumes into a warm, large mixing bowl and add the garlic and hot cream, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the butter and continue stirring, then add the olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
8. For the spinach, pine nuts and raisins: put the raisins into a small dish, add 5 tsp sherry vinegar and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.
9. Heat a large, heavy based frying pan over a medium heat add the olive oil and heat until smoking, fry the pine nuts, shallots and raisins for 2 minutes. Add the spinach leaves, immediately remove from the heat and stir for 15 seconds - just so the spinach wilts a tiny bit.
10. Tip into a warm bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with the remaining sherry vinegar and serve.
11. To carve the pig, firstly remove the legs and shoulder and carve the meat from them, taking care that each slice of meat has a portion of crisp skin attached.
Next, carve the meat from the saddle and the ribs, again keeping the skin attached to the meat. If you are squeamish about the other bits, sprinkle what you have carved with plenty of salt and serve at once.
Rate This Recipe