Roast Pig with Smoked Chilli Harissa and Date Molasses
Prep 30 minutesCooking 3 hours6 people
A recipe to celebrate with friends and family, this makes an ideal main course for an indulgent festive feast. Date molasses soaked crispy crackling to crunch on with roast potatoes and buttered vegetables.
- Before cooking the pig, remove any packaging and rinse under cold running water. Dry thoroughly with kitchen paper, then lay skin side up in a tray in the fridge tot dry off till ready to cook.
- Remove from the fridge 2-3 hours before you want to cook to allow to come up to temperature. You will need a large rectangular roasting tin with a rack placed on top or inside to cook the piglet in. Season the underside with salt then rub 2 tbsp of the smoked chilli harissa all over. Place the oranges cut side down along the centre of the rack, then lay the piglet on top with oranges running under the middle of it. This creates height which allows fat to run off the top and leave the skin crispy. Use the tip of a knife to make small holes all over the skin, then season with salt. Wrap the tail with foil to prevent burning.
- Heat your oven to 180C fan / 200C nonfan. Add 2-3cm of water to the tin, making sure the water doesn’t make contact with the flesh. Place in the oven once hot and roast for 90 minutes.
- Remove the tin from the oven, drain off the water and replace with a similar amount. Dry the skin with kitchen paper, then brush all over with olive oil and return to the oven for another 90 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, increase the heat to 200C fan / 220C non fan and when hot, return the piglet to the oven for another 20-30 minutes till the skin is dark and crisp all over. Check to see there is enough water in the base and top up if needed.
- Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes, then lift the piglet onto a serving dish. Carefully drain off the juices into a small saucepan. As the piglet begins to cool, brush with a layer date molasses. Keep repeating at 5 minute intervals to build a shiny, sticky layer. Remove the fat from the juices and add the remaining tbsp of smoked chilli harissa and stir though. Taste and adjust seasoning, then warm through. The piglet should be soft enough to cut straight though (traditionally done in Segovia with a plate), so divide into portions and serve with the some of the sauce.
- Remove the suckling pig from the oven and take it out of the roasting tin onto a serving platter. Drain, with the help of a ladle or large spoon, the excess of oil from the cooking juices and fine strain them. Check if the juices have the right seasoning, if not, add some more salt and serve with the roasted suckling pig. The skin should be incredibly crispy and the meat very soft that’s why you should be able to carve the suckling pig with a plate cutting through it…that’s the tradition!