CHRISTMAS SUCKLING PIG
Our suckling pig makes a delicious treat for the Christmas period, whether as an alternative to turkey on Christmas Day (a leg will feed six generously so is ideal for the smaller parties we are facing this year) or for a New Year’s Day feast. If you are a really small household in lockdown, the leftovers will be delicious – our suckling pig is just as good cold as it is hot.
All of the sweet, fruity sauces and accompaniments that we associate with Christmas go beautifully with Middle White Suckling Pig. We have tried it with Cumberland Sauce, truffled roast potatoes, Middle White chipolatas and devils on horseback – a perfect treat for Christmas Day.
A leg of suckling pig needs about one and a quarter hours in a hot oven. Dry it very thoroughly, slather with a light olive oil and sprinkle generously with sea salt. Baste from time to time and keep a watch so that you don’t burn the delicious crackling.
Our chipolatas only need 15 minutes in a hot oven and about the same for the devils on horseback – which I make by flattening a rasher of good quality unsmoked streaky bacon with the back of a knife, cutting it in half across its length and rolling it round a nice fat prune. The sweetness of the prune works perfectly with the Cumberland Sauce and the pork.
The quantities below for the Cumberland Sauce will be generous for the six or so people you can feed from a leg of Middle White suckling pig.
Half a one pound pot of redcurrent jelly – about 125 ml.
4 tbs (at least – no need to be mean) port
2 well heaped tsp arrowroot
3 tsp cold water
1 heaped tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp Dijon mustard – grainy or smooth (I like to use the grainy one but that certainly isn’t classic French cookery)
Remove the zest from the orange and the lemon with a potato peeler and cut it into very fine matchsticks, as long as you can achieve. Put it in a small pan of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and refresh with cold water.
Meanwhile squeeze the juice from both fruits and add to the jelly and the port in a small pan. Heat gently and stir until the jam has dissolved. Add the mustard and ginger.
Slake the arrowroot in the water until it is fully dissolved and then add a few spoonfuls of the jelly mixture to it. Stir well and then add the mixture back to the pan with the jelly. Bring back to a very gentle boil and stir until the sauce has thickened. The sauce thickens quite a bit as it cools so don’t expect it to get very thick – this is a sauce which should be liquid rather than gelatinous – and, if you overboil it, the arrowroot loses its thickening power altogether! Once you have achieved the desired consistency, stir in the citrus rind and leave to cool.