car girl and pig

Roast pig’s head

Yes, it’s one of those dishes that makes guests freeze up and look around for the exit, but once they’ve tasted it, it’s hard to stop.

We go to the market, find a little lady from the village and buy half a pig’s head, about 3kg, from her. They come with and without ears, and it is better to get the one with ears. We also get a pair of little feet from the same lady, and a pair of chicken backs from another lady next door. We have the basic raw materials covered. If you bargain well, you will be able to fit in around 11-12Lt, and if you don’t bargain, 14.

At home, take a rough sponge and scrub your head well (don’t forget to wash your ears). Legs likewise, but don’t forget the crotch, where all sorts of good stuff often happens. Once everything is clean, we pile it on the table, and pull out any aromatic vegetables we have. I had three onions, a couple of carrots, a head of garlic, a couple of heads of leeks (pardon the pun). We chop everything, crush and peel the garlic cloves and put them on a baking tray. On the same baking tray, add the butter pieces, place in the oven. Let them brown and cook for a little while, about half an hour, maybe less, depending on the heat. Make sure they don’t burn, stir them from time to time, but they should colour a little.

Ok, the vegetables are ready, we spread them out nice and evenly and lay our heads on them like a mat. Cover the ear with foil to prevent it from burning. Stuff the two legs of the pig in the adjacent area (they are not necessary here, but this way you can kill two birds with one stone, because the legs will be baked there at the same time as the head, so you don’t need to do anything extra). Stuff the chicken backs around where there is room, for taste.

Now, as true hosts, we should welcome the pig to its new home in a comfortable new carriage. We open a bottle of brandy (or Alita, there’s not much difference), and pour our heads everywhere. Of course, we pour a little in our mouths, too, how could we not. You don’t need much, about 100gr. It won’t help the pig to relax, but that’s the thing about hospitality.

Let the pig absorb the brandy while we see what else is good. A bottle of white wine is fine, and a half-bottle of it in a tin. How about half a glass of vermouth? Thyme and marjoram, a good bunch each. A few good pinches of salt. And water on top, when the head is half-submerged, add as much as you need.

We construct a foil tent on top (yes, very similar to the trout) and put it in the oven. Start on max until you hear the liquid inside boil, then turn it down to low just to keep it bubbling, and forget about our pig. We only remember after about three hours, take it out, remove the foil from everywhere, smell it, drink it. Something is missing… Aha, it still needs colour and crunch. We put it back in the oven, uncovered, for another hour or so, but before that we need to strain off most of the liquid separately, and this time turn the temperature up a little. And so on, toasting a little at a time until the skin is brown and crispy. Just be careful not to overdo it, as the skin will then become an unbreakable belt. Normally, until lightly crispy.

Have we done it? We pull the pig and everything that is not a vegetable out onto a plate, and we heat everything that is left inside on top of the gas stove. Throw in a couple of handfuls of spinach, or some greens like sorrel, pigeon peas, etc. etc., depending on the season. Let them just wilt a little, soften and that’s it, no need to heat them up any more, just stir them in. Add a tablespoon or two of good ‘matzo’ mustard, stir, and the sauce is finished.

Place the sauce ‘bed’ on an oblong plate and top with the head of the crudo. Pour glasses of beer or glasses of white wine, whichever you prefer. Prepare well-sampled rustic cucumbers, normal horseradish of the kind that takes the breath away, and rustic black bread for the taste. And delicious :{)

P.S. The meat on the head doesn’t seem to be much, but it should be enough for about six diners. Really fatty, but balanced with cucumbers and horseradish – fabulous. And the liquid that we took off the tin will set perfectly into jelly overnight in the cold.






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