Stuffed Suckling Pig
The piglet, slaughtered and bled at the throat, should be scalded with boiling water, then scraped; then take some lean pork, remove the fat and offal from the piglet, and cook them in water: then take twenty eggs and hard-boil them, and some chestnuts boiled an skinned: then take the yolks of the eggs, the chestnuts, good and plenty of powdered ginger mixed with the meat; and if the meat becomes too hard add some egg yolks. And do not open your pig at the belly, but through the side, making the smallest hole you can: then put it on a spit, and then fill it with your stuffing and sew it shut with a big needle; it should be eaten with yellow sauce if it is winter or with cameline sauce if it summer.
Note that I have also seen piglets larded, and they are very good. That is how they prepare them nowadays – and pigeons as well. (Redon, pg 104)
9-14 lb piglet 1 lb bacon 4 C walnuts 7 cooked eggs
2 Tbs ginger (ground or fresh) saffron
When I started this project, I had no idea how hard it was to find piglets. They are as rare and as hard to find as peacocks! I actually had to contract a slaughter house for the piglets so the actual slaughter and saving of internal organs was not available. This precludes the ability to pull the offal out through one small slit in the stomach and then refill with the stuffing through that one small slit. So with that in mind I have edited this recipe for a more modern consumer of purchased piglets.
I had thought to brine the piglet; however there is no mention that brining is needed. Very young piglets do not need to be scalded to loosen up bristles though older pigs do, which is what this recipe is describing, a much older piglet that is still shy of full grown weight. With the smaller piglet purchased for table size and cooking space availability this means that the actual cavity much smaller as well.
I substituted the chestnuts for walnuts as chestnuts are a seasonal item unless bought canned, which given the notoriety of canned items, I went for fresh shelled walnuts instead. Those were the two main issues that had to be changed for this recipe, other then the need to sew up the piglet from neck to anus.
The bacon, walnuts, cooked eggs, and spices were mixed together in a large bowl.
In this photo the ginger is ground while in the actual display I used cut up whole ginger (the size of my fist then chopped to the size of my pinky tip). The whole ginger was a much better choice for flavoring compared to the ground ginger in my opinion.
I had forgotten to get a picture of the eggs mixed with the stuffing (they were boiling while I compiled the walnuts, bacon, ginger and saffron together. Here they are next to the rest of the stuffing and ready to be inserted.
The piglets were rinsed clean then stuffed with the mixture.
The actual cut is from under the chin to the anus. I started sewing from the chin cut till I got to the cavity then started to stuff. I would stuff till the holding area was to full then I would sew a bit more, stuff then sew a bit more.
And then you sew her up!
Next the piglet was arranged in my largest roasting pan, which was still about 12 inches to short for the pig (and would not have fit in my oven if the pan were larger!).
Not having a spit available a grill our oven will have to do for the modern day medieval cook. Once the piglet was done the meat was allowed to rest before serving.
Do not let any one tell you arranging a pig is easy. It’s not. I had to stick the legs to the sides to balance her while the front legs were tucked underneath and she still listed to the side.
Here is where you can see where the piglet’s head actually hung over the roasting pan. The snout was with in centimeters of the oven wall. The ears not being wrapped in either foil or “linen bandages” puffed up like air bladders. Rather cute.
The skin had a nice golden brown color as I did salt and oil the skin just as I would a chicken for roasting. I like really crispy skin and did not want to miss out on the opportunity to tasty crispy piggy skin.
The piglet was very tender and moist, and unfortunately very gamey. Which lead to the conclusion I really do not like piglet. Love roasted pork…just not piglet!
The stuffing was nice, perhaps a bit more ginger needed. I did feel bad for using so small a pig, one that had not grown to full size but I felt that this recipe would benefit from as close to authentic as possible working with a size of piglet that would fit into my oven.