What is Porceddu?
Porceddu is a simple yet a complex recipe made from roasted suckling piglet. This traditional dish of Sardinian cuisine is based on very simple ingredients where the body of piglet is cleaned and stuffed with meat, rosemary, herbs, fennel and others. Later, they are roasted conventionally over juniper or myrtle wood to produce a soft, moist and tangy boneless pork roast. This dish is listed as one of the “traditional agricultural-alimentary product” that shows the roots of Italian culture and customs. It is generally served at special feasts like weddings or large family gatherings.
Widespread and Variety
The pork platter was first developed in 1919, in which a one year pig was slaughtered and roasted for seven hours inside an oven with pepper, garlic, fennel, salt and white wine.
Porceddu is now a popular dish and is spread in the whole country. Though originated in the Central Italy, it is a staple food of the Sardinian & Venetian cuisine. They are basically sold by the costermongers on the street of Italy, in white vans, during holidays and festive events. The recipe has undergone variety of changes and is used variants to make it a notable among many.
They are considered as the most common street food of Rome & Lazio and are sometime with bread sandwich. In Umbria, the pig is stuffed with its chopped entails, lard, pepper, fennel, garlic and salt.
With the evolution of time, Porceddu has been introduced in the cuisines of United States, Philadelphia, Texas, and Ontario, Michigan, Minnesota and Canada and other cuisine by Italian immigrants. They are served as sandwich with spinach and provolone cheese and are generally referred to as “roast pork sandwich” in the above mentioned places.
The Porceddu preparation is labor intensive and requires proficiency and techniques in roasting the piglet. To create a crispy, brown and savory Porceddu, one needs a suckling piglet weighing about 12 pounds, lard, myrtle, fennel, garlic and salt.
First, wash and clean the piglet well and apply salt both inside and outside. Take your wooden stick or steel spit and set it about 3 feet in front of the fire. Before spiting the pig over fire, build the exotic fire with juniper/myrtle, olive, arbutus or oak.
Once the pig began to roast, throw the dried herb twigs, thyme, oregano, mint, basil and apple wood chips, bay leaves, and marjoram to create a flavorful smoke. Turn the split slowly to cook the pig and let the meat absorb all the fragrance.
After an hour, brush the meat with lard and bring the steel spit closer to the flame and continue roasting for more two/three hours. To know whether your meat is cooked or not, place a knife in the thigh and look for hot, crispy and succulent piece.
Apart from this method, people also opt for the traditional one where a large pit is dug and is covered with rocks. A huge fire is set up where the pig is set and covered with coals. The coals are then covered with aromatic leaves, myrtle, and juniper and the pig roast for several hours.
After achieving the perfect crunchy and juicy structure, the pig is allowed to cool for a day before it is eaten. This magnificent platter is a celebratory dish and the arduous effort is worthy to celebrate a grand occasion.