There are a few things in life that I truly enjoy; one of those things is anything that has to do with pigs, pork and pork products. Every Christmas when the Lavallée clan gathers in Shawville, Quebec, my mother calls upon one of the many farmers in the area to slaughter a pig for us for our numerous pork dishes that we make over the holiday season. Ragout De Pattes De Cochon, Tourtiere, Gigot De Porc and Cretons are just a few of the items that can be found at our table, and this year I tackled the “gigot de porc” for Christmas dinner and it was amazing! Here are the steps that I took to prepare this easy and awesome meal!
This year I had a huge 24lbs leg of pork; just enough to feed us hungry Lavallée’s after a hard day of present opening and wine drinking! I started off by pre-heating the oven to 400F and scoring the skin of the pig with my trusty utility knife (none of the knives in the ‘ville could even come close to cutting through the skin of this beast!). Once the skin was scored, I generously rubbed it with freshly cracked black pepper, dried savoury and lots of coarse sea salt.
Now that the first seasoning was done, it was time to stud this beast. I used one whole head of locally grown garlic; cloves peeled and cut in half lengthwise. I inserted the cloves into small slits that I made throughout its flesh. I also pushed some rosemary sprigs into the slits to add extra flavour.
Before heading into the pre-heated oven I gave our friend another sprinkling of salt and fresh pepper. As you can see in the photo, I use an old Turkish coffee grinder for my pepper. After all of the seasoning was finished it went into the oven for a six hour journey!
Three hours into the pig’s special journey, we checked in on it to see that the skin had started to “crackle” and the meat was running some very flavourful juices. At this point the house smelled amazing and it was becoming increasingly difficult to not stick our hands in the oven to scam a piece of the crispy skin!
Six hours later our “beast” made its official final appearance, and boy oh boy, did he look and smell incredible! I covered the pig with some foil and let it rest for about another half hour, then peeled off some of the crackling skin and carved him up! What a moist, delicious pig we had on our table that evening, and it was only fair to pair him with some red wine braised cabbage, mashed yukon gold potatoes and hot mustard. Hope these instructions inspire you to tackle your own beast!