In many northern European countries, roast pig is a traditional Christmas entree. This may be a tradition traced to the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia which falls before Christmas at the Winter Solstice. Although this has been replaced with turkey (via the New World) in many European cultures, some still celebrate Christmas with pork. From Lithuania then...
Wash the pig inside and out with a weak solution of baking soda, paying special attention to the head openings and mouth. Pour water off and lay the pig in salt water for about 15 minutes. Dry thoroughly.
Rub the inside of the pig well with salt. If desired, pepper and sifted sage or ginger may also be rubbed on the inside of the pig.
Mix bread crumbs with peeled and finely chopped apples, onions, chopped parsley and melted butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and enough milk to moisten the mixture. Stuff the pig with this mixture.
Sew openings of pig together. Cover the legs and ears with oiled paper and tie the legs back. Put a corn cob into the pig's mouth to keep the jaws open.
Place the pig into a roasting pan in very hot oven until brown; then reduce heat to moderate until done. Baste frequently with plenty of fat. Do not allow any water or steam to form as it is likely to burst the skin and spoil the meat.
Put the peeled potatoes in the roasting pan around the pig about 3/4 of an hour before pig is done. The time required for cooking the pig is about 10 to 12 minutes per pound.
When done, insert a red apple into the mouth of the pig and place the pig on a larger platter on a bed of sauerkraut. Surround the pig with potatoes and some baked apples.
Also see Above the Ground Pit Barbecue
Based on a recipe from Foreign Festival Customs by Marian Schibsby & Henry Cohrsen. American Council for Nationalities Service, 1974.
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